A public meeting on Wednesday will discuss next steps after more than 1,000 people backed plans to tackle idling, including introducing fines for people who leave their car engines running outside schools.

In one of the biggest responses to a Sheffield City Council consultation this year, 97 per cent of people said children and the most vulnerable must be protected from the effects of air pollution.

85 per cent of those who responded felt that idling was a problem in Sheffield and 74 per cent felt that education and enforcement approaches should be used to tackle idling in Sheffield.

The findings will be debated at a public meeting on  Wednesday at Lecture Theatre 4 at the University of Sheffield’s Diamond Building, starting at 5pm, to discuss next steps following the eight-week public consultation on a new No Vehicle Idling policy in Sheffield.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: “We know that poor air is a public health emergency across the country. It’s great to see that such a large majority of people across the city want us to do something about people that leave their engines running outside schools, care homes and other facilities. We cannot sit by and let this obvious danger to people’s health go unnoticed.

“Air quality is a major issue and we need to be bold and ambitious in tackling it to protect the health of the most vulnerable. Sheffield is potentially only the second city in the country to take the level of action on such a huge UK problem.

“We are targeting vehicle idling because it is an avoidable local source of air pollution. This is not the only action that we as a city will be taking on air pollution and our Clean Air Strategy will set out even more ambitious plans soon.

“No Vehicle Idling is just common-sense: it benefits both drivers, who will waste less fuel, and those who are protected from unnecessary emissions.”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families, said:  “It’s wonderful that there has been such overwhelming support from the people of Sheffield to protect our children, young people and the most vulnerable from unnecessary air pollution and for our city to lead the way to make a real difference to air quality, which has a major impact on everyone’s health.

“Improving the health of children and young people really does make a difference to the their quality of life, into adulthood. That’s why I believe that once people become aware that leaving engines running when parked outside schools is a real danger to children’s health, that all drivers will decide to make a difference and take the easy step of switching their engines off.

“This campaign begins outside schools but will move on to outside Hospitals and Care Homes, then where ever people park and leave their engine running across our City.

‘Waiting? Don’t idle, Switch Off!’ – it’s such an easy thing to do but it does make a major difference.”

To book a place at the meeting, email air.quality@sheffield.gov.uk.

Sheffield, like most major cities, has problems with air quality.

The whole of the urban area of Sheffield was declared an Air Quality Management Area in 2010 for certain pollutants.

Sheffield –  along with other local authorities who are in breach of health limits for air pollution –  has been instructed by the government department responsible for air quality DEFRA  to clean up its air and reduce key air pollutants within the shortest time possible.

In June 2017 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published guidance suggesting that local authorities consider introducing powers to enforce “No vehicle idling” – keeping the car engine running in a stationary vehicle unnecessarily – outside schools, hospitals and care homes.

Vehicle idling is an avoidable cause of local pollution and those in schools, hospitals and care homes are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution.

More than 1,000 people participated in an eight-week public consultation.

One respondent said: “Parents sit for 15 minutes with their car engines still running. I do like to have my windows and balcony door open but, as soon as 2.30pm, I have to close them as my flat fills with fumes. I suffer from asthma and the build up of fumes affects my breathing.”

These and more detailed findings and next steps to developing the policy will be shared at the Public Meeting which will include 1 hour of questions from the public to a panel of technical experts from Sheffield City Council Transport and Legal Services.