‘Air Force’ to take to the streets of Westminster

A new team of parking marshals will be tasked with reducing engine idling across Westminster from May as part of a new air quality initiative. This is the first time for London that a team of parking marshals have been given the primary focus of combating engine idling and raising awareness about air quality.

This initiative will help deliver a marked drop in engine idling, a key source of emissions in London. 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.

Four of these will be specifically in Marylebone, where Westminster City Council is bidding to create a Low Emission Neighbourhood. To avoid adding to the pollution problem, the marshals will move around Westminster on electric mopeds or bicycles.

Engine idling

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 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.

Low Emissions Neighbourhood bid

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. Ideas include the creation of more green space, tree planting, new electrical vehicle charging points and a number of other innovations.

Also part of the plans is a trial for a number of residential parking bays that are only usable by electric cars. 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: “For a greener healthier city, we need to work with drivers and encourage them to turn their engines off when stationary. That is why we’ve created our new Air Force, who will lead the charge in spreading the positive message on air quality across the borough. We are also helping people to make the switch to electric vehicles through new parking bays, which will help further reduce emissions.”

Mark Hoskin, NSL’s Executive Director for Local Government, said “Turning off your engine when stationary may sound like common sense but you would be surprised at just how many drivers leave their vehicles running while parked, whether outside schools, shops or business districts. Working in partnership with Westminster City Council we are working hard to reduce engine idling which will significantly improve air quality, help the environment and reduce noise pollution. This also makes financial sense for drivers too. The response so far has been great. We’re also looking to go that one step further and introduce electric vehicles to further reduce the environmental impact of our teams.”

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Phil Scullion, Westminster City Council on 020 7641 1404 or pscullion@westminster.gov.uk

Luke Allen, NSL on 07468 701361, or Luke.Allen@nsl.co.uk

Notes to Editors:

NSL is a leading UK company specialising in the delivery and management of frontline services in complex public sector and regulated environments. Our core services include business process management; enforcement; passenger and social transport; street management and technical design services. We currently have over 70 contracts with local, regional and central government, as well as with the airport and the private sector, and have delivered contracts for high-profile government agencies, such as The Royal Parks, DVLA, Transport for London and Transport Northern Ireland.