Sunday 23rd October 2016                 Change text size:

Mayor of London to tackle city smog

Mayor of London to tackle city smog

Drivers are being asked to turn off their engines when they are stationary for more than a minute, as part of a new campaign to tackle air pollution. Charlotte Reid has more.

The ‘no engine idling’ campaign, being delivered by Transport for London (Tfl), wants people to reduce the number of fumes emitted by switching off car engines when parked or waiting.  

The campaign is aimed at all drivers of cars, buses, coaches and taxis. The aim is to reduce PM10 emissions – tiny particles generated mostly by road transport – by a third by 2015.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said, “I am committed to improving Londoners’ quality of life by bringing the best of village living into the city.

“This includes delivering cleaner, healthier air.”

Air pollution is a problem in the UK. Blue & Green Tomorrow wrote about a study that said nearly 200,000 people’s lives are shortened by an average of two years because of air pollution in the UK. Another report called Revealing the Costs of air pollution from industrial facilities in Europe found that the cost of industrial pollution damage to health and the environment is billions.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is offering extra support to local English councils to help improve air quality. Environment minister, Lord Taylor, announced £2m for all English counties to help reduce air pollution.

Tfl says that it is a common myth that switching the engine on and off would wear it out and use more fuel.

Johnson said this small step of turning off engines when stationary “creates a host of positive benefits by reducing pollution and using less petrol to save people money“.

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for surface transport at Tfl, said, “This is just one measure which can improve air quality in the Capital and complements some of the other action we are taking such as dust suppressants along PM10 hot spots and the green wall at Edgware Road installed in November“.

However, Simon Birkett founder of the Campaign for Clean Air in London told Business Green that Tfl’s initiative needs to show results.

“How much pollution will it reduce and when will we see results? What London most needs in the Olympic year is the sort of leadership on air pollution that we saw after the Great Smog of 1952, when London led the world.”

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