New signs ask us to turn off car engines when stationary

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Turn off your engine when stationary – that’s the message from Wycombe District Council (WDC) to motorists to help reduce pollution locally.

In a bid to spread the word, WDC has worked with the highway authority, Buckinghamshire County Council, on installing air quality signs in key locations. As shown in our photo, the signs read: ‘Air Quality Management Area. Reduce harmful emissions. TURN OFF your engine whilst stationary.’

There are 10 signs in high-traffic locations in the district, and 3 of them are in Marlow:

  • West Street (on the corner with Spinfield Lane)
  • Little Marlow Road (by Foxes Piece)
  • High Street ( by Higginson Park – if coming off the bridge, heading into town )

Cllr Julia Adey, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “These signs are part of our air quality action plan and are an important reminder to motorists that they could be helping to cut emissions even as they wait in traffic.

“Many new cars have stop-start systems that automatically shut off the engine when the car is at rest. Research suggests this improves a car’s fuel economy by over eight percent in heavy traffic.

“For cars without this feature, it really is worth turning off the engine. Many people wonder if this is efficient, or how long they should wait before it becomes efficient, but it is well established that the saving in terms of pollutants occurs within a second. As an added benefit, that saving will also translate into small but incremental reductions in fuel costs.”

Wycombe District Council’s air quality action plan can be found at

Article author: Paul Merchant

About the author: Founded in its original version back in 2000 - yes the internet DID exist back then. Brought up in Marlow, went to school here, now has children at the same schools. Quite clearly loves all things Marlow - hence spending over 2 decades doing this!

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