Idling motorists reminded to switch off while waiting
With colder weather upon us, motorists are being reminded of the consequences to the environment and to their pockets from leaving their cars running while waiting.
The reminder is part of Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council's work to tackle air pollution in the borough by aiming to educate motorists and encourage them to switch their engines off when stationary on a public highway. It builds on previous actions including placing prominent notices around the borough encouraging drivers not to idle and providing enforcement staff with the power to issue fixed penalty notices if drivers refuse to turn off their engines.
This followed its Clean Air Campaign in 2019, in which council teams talked to people across the borough to encourage them to reduce air pollution by using their vehicles less, to stop idling their car engines and to think about the ways in which they can reduce pollution. Other measures include encouraging people to walk and cycle more, working with schools to discourage parents from idling outside school gates and supporting the annual Clean Air Day event.
In addition and to help tackle emissions from its own vehicles, the council is continuing to replace its fleet with electric vehicles and has been trialling the use of hydrogenated waste vegetable oil as a renewable and more sustainable fuel in place of diesel in its operational vehicles, reducing their emissions by up to 90%.
Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Action Cllr Hayley Eachus said: “There is temptation to leave our engines idling at this time of year while we warm the car up or wait to collect a friend or family member.
“However, leaving your engine on while waiting in your car contributes to unnecessary emissions that affect levels of air pollution and greenhouse gases. Simply switching off while waiting can really help us to tackle air pollution in the borough. It will also save us wasting a significant amount of fuel, which is good for our pockets too.”
The council declared a climate emergency in September 2019, which included setting a target for the council to be carbon neutral in its operations by 2025. Since then it has cut the net emissions from its operations by two-thirds since 2018/19 and continues to make strong progress towards its ambitious target.
For more information on engine idling go to the council’s website https://www.basingstoke.gov.uk/engine-idling