Campaigners are calling on councils to bid for part of the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund to tackle toxic air from idling cars.

Councils across the capital can bid for part of Sadiq Khan’s £6 million Air Quality Fund to create initiatives to reduce toxic air and pollution in their boroughs.

Now more than 400 Londoners, businesses and community groups have written a letter to councils across London encouraging them to bid for part of the funding to help tackling idling – stationary cars with their engines running.

Charlotte Schilcher, 46, who set up Waltham Forest Cares for Clean Air in 2015, a community action group on air pollution who have also signed the joint letter said people need educating on how air pollution is damaging to people’s health.

Ms Schilcher said: “I think people need educating about how they are harming themselves and others. We need a co-ordinated campaign from the Government.

“There needs to be a big health campaign to educate people who don’t know they are harming themselves.

“A lot of people don’t understand the implications of people getting in the car with their children and the effects of the fumes from the car.

“I’m sure if people were aware of the facts they would not make short journeys in their cars.”

Ms Schilcher, who has two children, aged eight and 13, who she does not wish to be named, and said she is “very concerned” about the impact of toxic air from idling on their health.

She said: “It is something that impacts on many of us and we are constantly worrying about it and it is not something we should have to worry about.

“It is causing damage that cannot be repaired.”

Jemima Hartshorn, founder of Mums for Lungs, who started the campaign, said: “Air pollution is killing around 10,000 Londoners prematurely every year and contributing to the ill health of many more.

“Children are the worst affected. All levels of government need to come together and tackle this public health crisis.”

“Addressing idling, the most unnecessary contributor to air pollution, is a good step and the measures we are suggesting, should really increase awareness of the impact of idling, driving and air pollution amongst all Londoners and result in change of behaviour.”