Coach companies have been warned by Westminster City Council that they risk losing their parking spaces in central London if their drivers continue to idle on city streets.
In an open letter to some of the country’s biggest coach operators, the local authority explains that the ability for coaches to park in parts of Westminster, a hub of central London tourism, will be taken away if drivers continue to idle their engines and pump toxic fumes into the air.
National Express, which operates countless buses in and out of London every week, has already pledged to cut engine-idling.
There are currently 68 coach parking spaces located in Westminster, with many next to some of the city’s busiest pedestrian areas, outside schools and next to people’s homes.
The council will consider replacing some of these spaces with small parklets, electric vehicle charging points, or cycle bays if engine idling issues continue.
Cllr Tim Mitchell, Westminster City Council Cabinet Member for Environment and City Management said:
“It’s fantastic that National Express have come on board and been incredibly supportive of our efforts to stop idling and improve air quality for Londoners – but we’re getting pretty fed up with the rest of the coach industry who simply haven’t engaged at all.
“Hundreds of coaches enter Westminster every day, delivering visitors and schoolchildren to some of our famous hotspots, so if we’re going to tackle air pollution in our city, then we need these companies to clean up their act.
“Our approach has always been to ask nicely but there has been little or no response from some of these coach companies, if coach drivers persistently engine idle, we’ll simply remove the bay and turn it into a parklet or similar– our residents would certainly prefer it.”
This latest action comes as part of Westminster City Council’s #DontBeIdle campaign, which aims to tackle emissions put out by vehicles idling their engines around the borough. Whilst several large businesses have already signed on to the Council’s pledge to reduce their vehicles idling, many of the biggest coach operators in the country have not.
Westminster suffers from some of the worst air pollution in the country, with road transport contributing to more than half of the deadly emissions. This crack down on coach drivers who refuse to turn off their engines is just part of the council’s ongoing campaign to clean up air in the borough.