Westminster council has warned coach operators that coach parking spaces are at risk of being removed unless more is done to crackdown on engine idling.
In an ongoing dispute, Westminster says in an open letter that parking spaces “will be taken away if drivers continue to idle their engines and pump toxic fumes into the air”.
Westminster currently has 68 parking spaces for coaches and could be replaced with electric vehicle charging points, small parks or cycle bays in a major overhaul.
Tim Mitchell, the council’s cabinet member for environment, says coach operators have so far been “incredibly supportive of our efforts to stop idling and improve air quality.”
However, he warns more action is needed as the council is “pretty fed up” and time has come for companies to “clean up their act”.
He adds: “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.”
The proposal comes amid a warning from medical professionals that air pollution is linked to the deaths of 40,000 people in the UK every year and costs £20bn.