Liberal Democrat motion for ‘anti-vehicle idling zones’ passed by full council

A Liberal Democrat motion to stop vehicles idling was passed at the full council meeting on 11th December 2018. Just how this will be implemented remains to be seen, but it could help reduce local air pollution – at least near schools.

TRESA supports efforts to reduce vehicle idling. The text of the agreed motion is below.

Anti-Vehicle Idling Zones

This Council Notes:

  1. Bristol, like many authorities, has area of poor air quality and that pollutants in the air can exceed safe limit set by both the European Union and World Health Organisation.
  2. Air pollution in Bristol has a massive impact on the health of our citizens. In the young and most health-vulnerable it can cause permanent lung damage, and in older people it exacerbates lung and heart diseases. In Bristol this equates to approximately 300 extra deaths each year.
  3. A very welcome Clean Air Zone is currently in the planning stages as part of the city’s Clean Air Action Plan, in addition to other measures such as the imminent introduction of 110 biogas buses, a new greener fleet for Bristol Waste, supporting the introduction of electric taxis, Go Ultra Low West and other schemes. The Clean Air Zone will in the future alter journey routes and vehicle purchases, but likely won’t affect driving style. Furthermore, implementation of the Clean Air Zone is some years away.
  4. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and Public Health England (PHE) produced new guidance last year that recommended “no vehicle idling” areas in places where health-vulnerable people collect, such as outside schools, hospitals and care homes, and in areas where exposure to road-traffic-related air pollution is high.
  5. That vehicle idling has been an offence since 1988, incurring a £20 fine (£40 if not paid promptly) under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002. Councils have historically generally found this difficult to enforce due to the low fine available.

This Council resolves to support and asks the Mayor to implement:

  1. By spring 2020 investigate, and implement if financially feasible, the introduction of an enforceable “anti-vehicle idling” zone outside every school and in every park in the city – with at least four pilot zones of each by autumn 2019. This investigation will include identifying how enforcement of the zones would be resourced and whether the net cost, if any, is acceptable within the council’s budget.
  2. Where practical, to extend the number of “anti-vehicle idling” zones to cover areas near to children’s play areas where standing traffic is an issue.
  3. Work with the police and other agencies to jointly tackle the vehicle idling problem and to enforce the “anti-vehicle idling” zones, noting that PCSOs often already patrol outside schools to monitor parking.
  4. Work with our NHS and other healthcare partners, to look at extending “anti-vehicle idling” zones outside medical buildings, in hospital pick-up areas, and outside care homes.
  5. Use the experience of the pilot zones to determine whether these measures should be implemented via the existing legislation, enforceable enhancements to existing Council policies, or via a new by-law. This should include investigation as to whether the existing level of fine from the legislation can be increased.

Guidance proposes ‘no vehicle idling’ zones to tackle air pollution  Air pollution: outdoor air quality and health