Westminster council is ramping up its efforts to tackle engine idling with new campaign focusing on taxis and delivery firms

Rebecca Smith
Westminster makes drivers of diesel cars pay more to park
Westminster makes drivers of diesel cars pay more to park (Source: Getty)

Westminster City council is accelerating its drive to crack down on pollution, with a new campaign focused on taxi and delivery firms.

The borough has been aiming to cut down on car idling, with a dedicated team of "air marshals" patrolling the streets to ask drivers to switch off their engines while the cars are stationary. Those who refuse to do so can be fined up to £80.

Read more: Oxford Street transformation that will start in 2018 could mean taxi ban

Now, as well as ordinary drivers, taxi, freight, and delivery firms will be asked to sign a pledge to reduce idling and help cut pollution.

The council said a car idling releases enough emissions to fill 150 balloons. Vehicles such as taxis, buses, vans, cars, and delivery vehicles account for over half of the most deadly emissions in the air.

The council added that 370m miles are driven in Westminster each year.

Westminster City council leader, Nickie Aiken, said: “Westminster attracts over one million visitors a day with many traveling by car so it’s no wonder the city suffers from some of the worst pollution.”

In January, Westminster became the first London borough to make drivers of diesel cars pay more to park, with the council announcing it will charge 50 per cent more for those parked in Marylebone. That change hasn't affected residents, it is specifically a charge for pay-to-park bays.

All money raised from that is to go towards sustainable transport modes.

And a new report by Kings College, commissioned by the council, found that poor air quality was the second biggest public health risk after smoking.

Among the measures it suggested to help tackle the issue were supporting businesses to reduce their deliveries and installing pollution measuring tubes in school playgrounds.

Read more: Westminster becomes first London borough to charge more to park diesel cars

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