Take part in the two minute engine switch-off
Drivers in the centre of Bath are being encouraged by Bath & North East Somerset Council to switch off their engine if they are stopping for over 2 minutes in Bath – most of main roads of which are in an Air Quality Management Area.
Fliers are being distributed to the drivers of coaches, buses, taxis, and other vehicles that are likely to idle for a period of time.
Councillor Roger Symonds (Lib-Dem, Combe Down), Cabinet Member for Transport, said, "The idea is very straightforward. If drivers who are idling for more than two minutes switched their engines off like Bath & North East Somerset Council is suggesting, our area stands a better chance of improving air quality.
"It is simple common sense. Exhaust fumes pollute the air with a range of harmful chemicals, like sulphur dioxide, formaldehyde, and benzene. These cause health problems like asthma, heart disease, and lung cancer. In our unique heritage city, the fumes deposit particles on buildings which eventually result in the corrosion of Bath stone.
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"The Council wants drivers play their part in combating unnecessary exhaust fumes and tackle air quality."
The initiative does not apply to vehicles in stationary traffic – it is targeted at parking vehicles with their engines running. In addition to this appeal, the Council are also applying for powers under road traffic regulations which would enable the enforcement of the engine switch-off initiative.
Local transport companies have already lined-up to support the switch-off. Martin Curtis, Managing Director of Bath Bus Company, said, "We already follow an Engine Switch Off policy which is rigorously enforced and have no difficulty therefore in supporting this initiative."
Tim Jennings, from Somerbus, said, "Our service 175 into Bath is part of the quality partnership and we try to switch engines off as much as possible while stopped in Bath."
Steps have also been taken by First to introduce technology that enables an automatic cut-out when a bus is stationary for a set period of time. Richard Lewis, Business Manager for First in Bath says: "We support this initiative so as well as operating low carbon hybrid vehicles on the Park and Ride service, and installing a system on the buses which encourages drivers to drive in a more efficient way – reducing both fuel usage and the level of emissions produced overall - our buses are also programmed to automatically cut off after a set period.
"To further support programmes like this we ask all of our drivers, when loading passengers at the start of their journeys to only start the engine on once all the customers on board and they are ready to leave. In Bath we enforce the latter through random spot checks within the bus station."
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