London’s drivers are being urged today (July 31) to help improve the city’s air quality and cut greenhouse gas emissions by switching off their car or van engines when stationary.
The Energy Saving Trust is asking motorists in the capital to heed their call for action, and reduce levels of harmful pollutants entering the atmosphere.
Information from TfL (Transport for London) shows that if all central London’s drivers turned off their engines instead of idling for one minute on every journey they make, the city could reduce emissions of harmful particulates which reduce air quality by 90kg a year.
In its call to action the Energy Saving Trust today assures motorists that turning an engine on and off causes less pollution and uses less fuel than keeping it running for one minute.
Research from the Inrix Report indicates that average speeds on key routes through London could be as low as 12mph during the Olympics, with congestion expected to rise by a third. This means drivers are more likely to be held up at junctions, road signals or in stop-start traffic.
Tim Anderson, senior knowledge manager at the Energy Saving Trust said: “Turning off engines when it is anticipated that you will be stationary for more than a minute creates a number of benefits by reducing pollution and, by using less fuel, it also saves money.
“This small, individual step can collectively make a significant difference and help improve life for everyone in London.
“Many modern vehicles are fitted with start/stop systems which automatically switch off the engine to prevent idling. Research shows that turning off an engine and restarting it after a minute uses less fuel and causes less pollution than leaving it running.”
Earlier this year, Mayor of London Boris Johnson launched an anti-idling campaign as part of City Hall’s accelerated efforts to ensure the capital meets legally binding particulate (PM10) pollution limits. Some London boroughs impose fines of up to £80 for excessive engine idling, which motorists can avoid simply by switching off their engines when loading and unloading, or in stationary traffic.
Tim Anderson from the Energy Saving Trust added: “The Highway Code states that drivers should not leave their engines running unnecessarily while stationary on a public road. This means that you may not be complying with the law if you keep your engine running when at a standstill.”
Discouraging idling is part of the advice offered to businesses through the Energy Saving Trust’s Smarter Driving campaign, which helps people drive more efficiently and can significantly cut fuel bills. A driver who covers 12,000 miles a year could save £250 on fuel by implementing the techniques.