In an attempt to improve air quality in the capital, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has introduced a campaign designed to encourage drivers – notably drivers of commercial vehicles, taxis and PSVs – to reduce engine idling and thus cut costs and carbon emissions.
The campaign follows the award of a £5 million grant from the Department of Transport. Transport for London has established the Clean Air Fund, measures aimed at reducing particulate matter across London. Transport for London, Department of Transport and the Greater London Authority have now agreed how and where the money should be spent.
In addition to reducing engine idling, the Clean Air Fund also includes: actions involving trials of green walls and screens and additional tree planting; the installation of particulate filters to buses on selected routes; the expansion of dust suppressant trials; marshaling at taxi ranks, including at rail termini; and engagement with business in order to promote greener travel.
The Clean Air Fund measures seek to reduce particulate matter concentrations across London and especially at pollution hotspots on three main priority routes: Marylebone Road and Euston Road; Victoria Embankment and Upper Thames Street to Tower Hill; and Marble Arch to Hyde Park Corner.
The key messages from the campaign are that although air quality in London is hugely better than 50 years ago, there is still room for improvement: ‘London can breathe better – switch off your engine when you are parked, loading or waiting at the roadside.’ The No Engine Idling Campaign was launched in summer 201o with a small team of eco-marshalls monitoring taxi ranks at London mainline stations and on other street ranks where air quality was known to be poor.
Leon Daniels CMILT, Managing Director for Surface Transport, TfL, has written to coach, bus and freight operators to encourage their drivers to switch off their engines while stationary. In addition to commercial vehicle and bus and coach drivers, the TfL campaign is also targeting school drivers and related or partnering organisations.
A marketing and communications campaign has been launched that is designed to raise awareness, the main elements of which include: an information website; billboard bus back and radio advertising; No Engine Idling signage deployed at 50 selected bays around London; mass circulation of information to appropriate databases; and engagement with trade associations and driver membership organisations.
Boris Johnson said: ‘Delivering cleaner air is key to may goal of creating a better quality of life for Londoners. 2012 is also a historic year during which the eyes of the world will turn to London and I want people to experience a cleaner, greener city before, during and after the Games.’
Steve Agg FCLIT, Chief Executive, CILT, said: ‘The combination of ultra-high prices for petrol and diesel and the desire to reduce emissions and improve air quality adds up to a commonsense and worthwhile campaign by Transport for London. I have no doubt that CILT members will support these endeavours and encourage their drivers to reduce or avoid unnecessary engine idling whenever possible, not just in London but also in all relevant circumstances across the UK.’
For more information please visit www.cilt.org.uk.