Saturday, 20 January 2007

Car Engine Idling, emissions and climate change

Many people leaving their car engine on for 10 minutes while stationary. Perhaps they dont realise that this contributes to pollution and global  warming. Why cant we do what happened in Scotland last year. See below from

Thousands of drivers have been stopped during roadside checks and scores of fines imposed in Scotland's largest anti-pollution campaign. A report into the exhaust-busting drive reveals 2358 cars, vans, taxis and buses have been stopped and a total 70 fines issued since the turn of the year.

Officials at Glasgow City Council have described the emission testing and idling enforcement crackdown as a great success and said it was changing motorists' attitudes and improving air quality.

Drivers have been warned the authority now plans to supply its services on combating pollution to other councils including East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, North Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire. Robert O'Neill, director of the council's environmental protection services, said: "A successful marketing campaign ran during January 2006, accompanied by a high-profile enforcement campaign. "This involved out-of-hours initiatives at the evenings and weekends as well as daytime enforcement to tackle both vehicle emissions testing and stationary idling vehicles. "The last year of vehicle emissions and stationary idling vehicle activities has noted increasing success in changing driver habit and emissions to air from vehicles through promotional and enforcement activity.

"It is anticipated that more focused targeting of offenders and working with neighbouring local authorities will assist in improving air quality within Glasgow in the year ahead."

A total of 11 cars, four vans, two taxis and 20 buses were given fixed penalties for leaving their engines running on the city's streets. Around 100 parking attendants were recently given new powers to hand out £20 fines to drivers who left their engines running. Previously, only environmental protection staff were allowed to hand out the fixed-penalty fines, which rise to £40 if unpaid after 28 days.

Glasgow is the first council in Scotland to make use of new air pollution laws. No fines have been imposed in Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh, where councils have a policy of issuing warnings to motorists to switch off their engines.

Glasgow's campaign has been bolstered by a £150,000 advertising campaign warning motorists that idling vehicles are contributing to the city's air pollution.

The streets at either side of Central Station have regularly featured in lists of the UK's most polluted roads.

Although the city now issues drivers with fines, the hard line was only introduced after 18 months of warning drivers proved to be no great deterrent.

Council officials insisted most drivers will be able to avoid an on-the-spot fine if they turn off their engine when asked. However, persistent offenders or drivers who loiter in hot-spots, such as outside shopping centres, will be fined without warning.

Neil Greig, of motorist lobby group the AA Trust, said he hoped buses and taxis which emitted diesel fumes would be key targets during any crackdown. A spokeswoman for First Bus said drivers were told to switch off engines when parked or picking up passengers.

Sue Nicholson, head of policy for the RAC, insisted the main targets should be the drivers of buses, heavy goods vehicles and taxis.

She added: "If someone is sitting in a car in freezing cold conditions and that person is elderly I would expect an attendant to use common sense. I hope this is used as a deterrent rather than a way of raising revenue."

Experts say vehicle emissions pose a health risk and leave people ill with chest complaints. Regular checks in the city centre, especially in traffic-choked Renfield Street and Hope Street, found nitrogen dioxide levels are as much as 70% above acceptable levels.

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