Emission Impossible

In New York City, anyone with a mobile phone can record a parked vehicle with its engine running, send the footage to a government department and receive 25 per cent of any fine paid. The number of fines for vehicle idling jumped from 24 in 2017 to 1,038 in 2018.

This week, Bright Blue, a Conservative think tank are calling for a similar scheme of citizen-based reporting of stationary idling to be introduced in the UK. This has generated headlines and provided the opportunity to raise awareness of the impact that air pollution from idling is having on babies and children but will the proposal of people earning money from reporting idling muddy the water?

Little Ninja UK has been calling for video evidence of idling to be used by council officers to prevent drivers contesting the small number of fines that are issued. To extend this to teachers and parents already tackling vehicle idling outside schools and nurseries is a no brainer. Council officers cannot be at all 30,000+ nurseries and schools during drop off and pick up times.

Hundreds of volunteers already tackle idling outside schools, nurseries, GP surgeries and hospitals. We’ve never asked for payment to protect our children’s health and don’t require it now.

In fact, telling drivers that we are getting paid to tackle idling will likely make the conversation that much more difficult and increase the chance of abuse and misunderstanding of our motives.

We do however like the idea of 25% of the revenue generated by our actions not going directly to the council and believe there is a great opportunity to give this a positive twist. It’s often teachers and parents tapping on windows asking drivers to switch off their vehicle engines, so the 25% of fines could be allocated to the local school/nursery to pay for air quality monitors around the school and air filtration units for classrooms.

If it’s idling outside hospitals and GP surgeries then the same applies. Let’s use 25% of the revenue generated from tackling vehicle idling to reduce air pollution exposure for those most affected.

Please note that video evidence of idling is meaningless if current idling law is not changed. We’ve been campaigning for Parliament to debate new idling law and have just over 1,000 of the 100,000 petition signatures required.

Please help by signing and sharing our NO2idling petition: https://www.change.org/p/uk-parliament-stop-vehicles-idling-near-babies-and-children-3bf5ee0d-9b72-489c-a172-0d8f3ed37888

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