We need straight answers in the fight against idling vehicles
04 October, 2019
• I HAVE been trying to engage with Islington Council since August 14 to get some fairly straightforward replies to some questions regarding vehicle idling.
This is a curse of our streets, causing spikes in pollution with drivers seemingly unaware that their engines are even idling, let alone adversely affecting our already illegal air.
Keeping aircon on in a car in summer, or heating on in winter, or just “dropping someone off” are not acceptable responses and personally I don’t see any rationale at all for idling. We are, after all, in a declared climate emergency.
As my requests for responses are, to date, falling on deaf ears, I am hoping that someone at the council has the answers to the following questions which have been abbreviated from the originals:
• Islington issued one fixed-penalty notice in the last three years for idling. The volume of vehicles in Islington on a given day (latest I can find is for the 2011 census, https://www.vai.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/2012-Census-Islington-Summary.pdf) was 38,000.
As car ownership in Islington is 26 per cent, it could be reasonable to assume that many idling vehicles are visitors, deliveries or cars passing through. What plans has the council to get the message across to all vehicles within and passing through the borough that idling engines cause dangerous spikes in air pollution?
• Could you confirm if there are there any new policies in the draft transport strategy to tackle this issue?
• Can you confirm how a member of the public can report an idling vehicle and what action the council will take?
• How many people are in the idling “enforcement team”? There are probably far more traffic wardens or PCSOs than idling enforcement team members, and they cover the whole borough every day, so there should be an opportunity to increase their scope.
• I know that Islington is a member of Idling Action as I’ve spent an afternoon with them being trained on how best to approach idling car drivers. What are Idling Action’s targets on engine idling particularly in Islington and how is progress measured? Are these targets aligned with the scale of the current problem?
• How is Islington getting the message re idling to its own drivers of council vehicles, or vehicles contracted to it? What concrete and measureable actions are being taken? And what policies are in place to deal with council drivers who are caught idling?
• How is the council working with other boroughs on idling? What actions have been agreed and how is progress being tracked? What time scales have been set for zero-idling?
I remain optimistic that someone somewhere has the answers and look forward to reading them.
EILIDH MURRAY, N1