The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has launched a new campaign encouraging Londoners to turn off their engines when their vehicle is stationary for more than a minute. The campaign is part of a package of measures to improve air quality, cut harmful pollution and clean up the city ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Delivered by Transport for London (TfL), the new “no engine idling” campaign urges drivers of all vehicles to switch off their engines when they are parked or when picking up and dropping off people or goods, reducing the amount of unnecessary and harmful exhaust fumes emitted.
TfL undertook testing and research at Millbrook Proving Ground when developing this campaign; this showed that vehicle engines may be restarted repeatedly many times over without a discernible effect on the performance of the vehicle’s battery. The vehicles tested were able to withstand repeatedly being switched on and off over a hundred times in an hour with no loss of performance observed.
The campaign also highlights the health benefits of reducing pollution levels to both prevent and alleviate illnesses such as asthma and heart and lung conditions.
Leading health and transport organisations such as Asthma UK, the Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have voiced their support for the campaign.
The campaign is aimed at all drivers including those of cars, buses, coaches and taxis. Black cabs account for around a quarter of PM10 emissions in central London with up to 15% of that estimated to be as a result of taxi drivers leaving their engines idling when stationary.
Research commissioned by the Mayor’s office has suggested that poor air quality contributes to an equivalent of around 4,300 premature deaths in London in a year, with many people, especially children and older people, having their quality of life adversely impacted by it.
Implementing the measures in the Mayor’s strategy such as this new campaign is expected to reduce PM10 emissions in central London by about a third by 2015, compared to 2008 levels.