LONDON MOTORISTS who leave their engines switched on while parked up are to be targeted on the streets of the capital.
A pilot scheme in the City of London, where local residents, council air quality wardens and residents urged drivers to switch off their engines, will be rolled out across a number of boroughs.
The programme is set to be extended into Camden, Enfield, Hammersmith & Fulham, Harrow, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Westminster.
The so-called ‘clean-air’ squads will target pedestrian zones outside schools and hospitals as well as residential areas and on roads where idling vehicle engines are known to be a problem.
City of London Corporation public protection director Jon Averns, said: “Vehicles parked up with their engines running are an unnecessary source of air pollution.
“They emit pollutants, including nitrogen dioxides and particulate matter, which are linked to asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer. We need to act now.”
In most cases, drivers who were asked to turn off their engines, did so willingly when were made aware of the air quality issues of not doing so.
But, a number of drivers have reacted aggressively. A mother picking up her child from nursery was called a, “middle class bitch” and told to, “f*ck off” when she asked a male driver to turn off his engine which had been running for 20 minutes while parked up.
The network of clean air squads will be funded by £127,000 over three years by the mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund, with another £100,000 coming from town hall budgets across the capital.
Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was diagnosed with asthma as an adult, said: “Engine idling leads to unnecessary and dangerous pollution being pumped into the air. At a time when nearly 10,000 early deaths are caused each year by breathing in the capital’s poor air, we must do all we can to clean it up for now and future generations.”
A spokesman for Westminster City Council said it was also going to deploy a number of traffic wardens to target drivers who leave their vehicle engines running. Motorists who refuse could be issued with £20 on-the-spot fines if they refuse to comply.