CLEAN Air Day 2019 is set to be marked with a series of events around the county on Thursday.

Oxford City Council and Oxford Friends of the Earth are running an anti-idling event in the city centre, while Oxfordshire County Council is hosting a seminar about pollution's impact on schoolchildren.

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In Oxford, city council events will take place at St Clement’s Street and St Giles’ – from 8am to 9am and from 4pm to 5pm – to educate drivers about the impact of idling engines.

About 75 per cent of air pollution in the city comes from traffic, according to the latest figures. Despite a 36.9 per cent reduction in levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide across Oxford in the last decade, parts of the city centre are still failing to meet the legal limit on the pollutant.

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South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils will launch a similar campaign across their regions on Thursday.

The two authorities are asking drivers to ‘Turn it off’ if they are stopped for a minute or more, which they say produces the equivalent of 150 balloons' worth of harmful pollutants - and far more than a moving vehicle.

Excessive idling also wastes fuel and money.

Stalls in Henley Market, in the morning, and at Old Station Yard, next to Stert Street, in Abingdon, in the afternoon, will also promote the initiative.

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Meanwhile, the county council will host parents, governors and teachers at Oxford's County Hall from 4.30pm to 6pm.

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Oxford is aiming to implement the world's first Zero Emission Zone, in a phased plan beginning next year.

Oxford City Councillor Tom Hayes, Executive Board Member for Safer and Greener Environment, said: “Put bluntly, air pollution kills. Toxic and illegal air is affecting the health of people right here in Oxford, from the womb to old age.

"It doesn’t have to be this way and cutting your engines at the school gate or while you’re stationary can make a bigger difference than you’ll ever know. We’re extending our anti-idling campaign and asking more people to leave the car at home and pedal to work.”

Air pollution has been identified by numerous experts as one of the biggest environmental risks to health.

Fiona Tavner, Coordinator at Oxford Friends of the Earth, added: “Turning the engine off when the car's not moving is about the simplest way anyone can help cut air pollution. It also saves money and fuel. It makes perfect sense. We encourage everyone to get behind this.”