Using a horse to get to school is one way of cutting air pollution, but it’s probably not the most convenient.

But that was just one of the suggestions from Merton’s youngsters after they learnt about air pollution.

On Wednesday, March 13, a six-strong group of volunteers including parents and councillors hit the streets around Morden Primary School in London Road to stop parents leaving their cars idling.

But children from Year 3 to Year 6 also learnt about air pollution and why idling is bad.

You know what it’s like, you’re waiting in the car and you keep the engine running so you can keep the heating on. Or you just forget to turn it off.

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But this is contributing to air pollution and leaving your engine idling unnecessarily is actually an offence that could land you with a fine.

Miar Crutchley, specialist environmental health practitioner at Merton Council, said: “It is really important to raise people’s awareness of the problem.

“It is something a lot of people don’t really think about, they don’t realise they are creating their own area of pollution.

“It it important to teach the children about it so they support the message.

“They learnt about air pollution and different ways to travel to school. We had suggestions like ‘can we buy a horse?'”

The team went out after school giving out information to parents who had kept their engines running.

With the tagline Idling is Fuelish, they gave out leaflets to banish some myths.

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That  included the notion that the engine needs to be on to keep the car warm inside. According to the campaign, that isn’t the case – the heater should stay warm for 30 minutes after turning the engine off.

Lisa Davy, who has two children aged four and two, said she worries that they will be affected by air pollution.

She joined the volunteers this week to convince other parents to do their bit to improve air quality.

She said: “I took part because of all the things in the news about the dangers of air pollution in London and because our primary school is on a main road.

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“I worry about my children’s health. I had a friend who lived here and their child suffered from asthma. They moved to the coast and now he doesn’t have asthma anymore.”

Mark Gale has a five-year-old son at nearby Poplar School and said there is the same problem with idling there. He joined the volunteers because he is “passionate about the environment”.

The event was one of three across the borough. Volunteers also campaigned outside St Mary’s Primary School in Wimbledon and Sacred Heart Primary School in West Barnes.

Merton Council’s cabinet member for health, Councillor Tobin Byers was at St Mary’s on Monday.

He said: “This campaign to improve air quality around schools is really important and it is one everyone can get behind and play their part in.

“So the message to all drivers waiting close to schools is switch off your engine and ‘don’t be an idler’.”