Westminster City Council is bidding to be one of two boroughs to receive £1m of funding from the Greater London Authority and Transport for London.
This funding is to create a Low Emission Neighbourhood, to include behaviour change and green initiatives to help improve air quality.
Westminster’s bid focuses on Marylebone and one of the ideas is to use part of the funding to pay for four more marshals to approach drivers and ask them to turn off their engines and to pass on the positive air quality message within the community.
This scheme will start with two parking marshals this month, but if the Low Emission Neighbourhood bid is successful there will be at least six dedicated marshals working across the borough within a few months, with four specifically in Marylebone.
To avoid adding to the pollution problem, the marshals will move around Westminster on electric mopeds or bicycles.
Also part of the bid is the creation of more green space, tree planting, new electrical vehicle charging points and a number of other innovations.
There are also plans for a residential parking bay trial where a number of spaces will be made available to electric cars only.
A small number of residents would contract to share an electric charging resident parking bay. This is aimed at encouraging residents without off street parking who are interested in switching to an electric vehicle but concerned about the ability to keep the battery charged.
Cllr Heather Acton, Westminster City Council cabinet member for parking and sustainability, said: “We are today submitting a bid to create a Low Emission Neighbourhood in Marylebone, as part of our commitment to tackling poor air quality and delivering a greener city.
“Measures include a new ‘air force’ of parking marshals to combat engine idling and raise awareness, incentives for switching to an electric vehicle and the creation of new green space.
“Our bid for a Low Emission Neighbourhood in Marylebone is a snapshot of our work to create a greener city and Westminster will continue to play a leading role in the struggle against poor air quality in London.”
In May 2015 Westminster City Council introduced new rules to combat engine idling, giving parking marshals the power to speak to drivers and issue £20 fixed penalty notices.
Over the last year over 1,500 drivers have been approached and our marshals have not yet had to issue a fixed penalty notice, with the vast majority of people reacting positively and wanting to act to improve air quality.
Westminster City Council also runs engine no idling days, with two having taken place on 9th and 16th March. During these days volunteers approach drivers and ask them to switch their engines off.
The City Council has also put up 109 no engine idling signs across Westminster.