Monday, 24 January 2011

Drivers should turn off idling engines and save lives - say Greens

Green party activists are calling on the City of London (CoL) to take urgent action to help save thousands of lives a year due to soaring pollution levels – with toddlers and the elderly most at risk. [1] [2]

Idling engines are identified in the CoL’s Air Quality Strategy consultation paper as a major contributor to poor air quality, and now activists are urging the private sector to take the initiative and enforce their own ‘no idling’ codes of conduct for drivers.

Green Party member and Square Mile resident, Michael Coffey (see photo attached), said:

“I moved to the City of London a few months ago, and one feature that struck me is the extent to which motorists – mainly waiting cabs and delivery vehicles – leave their engines on while parked.

“The Mayor of London wants to make the whole of London a no-idling zone with a particular focus on buses, coaches, taxis and delivery vehicles – but nothing is likely to happen for another twelve months. We don’t think bureaucracy should get in the way of cleaner air for London. We want to see action quickly.

Michael Coffey continues:

“This is a chance for the private sector to be green heroes by taking a lead and creating their own codes of conduct or ‘We Don’t Idle’ pledges. We don’t want more street clutter, we want firms saying ‘don’t leave your engines running’. Our suggestion is a win-win for everyone. It will save companies money on fuel and make the capital a cleaner, healthier place for all.”

Police and Community Support Officers and City of London Civil Enforcement Officers have powers to issue Penalty Charge Notices to vehicles idling. Their success in enforcing this is currently being reviewed. [3]

The Greens will be making a representation to the City of London consultation on the Mayor’s draft air quality strategy which closes on January 31st.

Michael Coffey is available for interviews.

For further information contact Anna Bragga on 078616 77343.

Notes to editors

[1] The City has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the country. levels of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide (NOx) remain high. Fine particles and NOx are the cause of respiratory problems – especially affecting the elderly and children.

In reacting with sunlight, Nox also damages vegetation- ie our parks and green spaces.

At least 3,500 people in London die prematurely each year due to poor air quality, and this figure could be as high as 8,000.

In the most recent City of London Place Survey, when presented with a list of 20 key concerns for the Square Mile, pollution was just second to the level of traffic congestion as the issue residents felt was in most need of improvement.

In CoL Over 80% of fine particles are emitted by vehicles , and 60% of the FP vehicular emissions (ie 50% of all FP emissions) are from taxis and light vans.

In CoL Vehicles make up almost 60% of total emissions of NOx., with buses and coaches the main culprits.

After a number of years of decline, measured roadside concentrations of Nox have risen dramatically on key roads in the City since 2003.

Source: City of London Air Quality Strategy 2011 – 2015, Draft for Consultation

[2] Evening Standard, 30.06.2010: ‘Pollution kills 4,200 people every year in the capital’ by Pippa Crerar and Mark Blunden.

[3] City of London Air Quality Strategy 2011 – 2015, Draft for Consultation

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