Save money and switch off for a cleaner, greener city

Edinburgh residents are being asked to turn off their engines for a cleaner and greener city.

Currently, there are three areas in the capital which have been identified as problematic for the nasty air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (N02), which includes the city centre, Great Junction Street and St Johns Road.

Idle vehicles spew out the same dangerous emissions as moving cars and N02 is linked to serious health problems such as asthma, heart disease, chronic bronchitis and cancer.

Now, to address these issues, the Council is due to issue Fixed Penalty Notices for car and bus drivers who sit with their engines running when their vehicles are not moving.

Due to come into force on 1 April 2011 the aim of the scheme is to reduce pollution, promote health benefits and educate and help drivers save money on fuel.

Investigations carried out by the Council in 1999 estimated that 88 per cent of N02 emissions came from road vehicles in the city while 8 per cent came from aircraft .

Buses and heavy good vehicles are also widely known to contribute disproportionately to road vehicle emissions, especially when idling.

Councillor Robert Aldridge, Environmental Leader, said: "The Council is concerned about our air quality around the city and we have seen an increase in complaints from the public about idling vehicles. This scheme is part of our wider strategy on cutting out dangerous N02 emissions.

"We currently have an Action Plan in place which includes traffic management improvements, the adoption of cleaner engine technologies in buses, taxis, goods and Council vehicles amongst other things. This scheme is all about educating people on the many health and personal benefits to turning your engine off while your vehicle is stationary - making a cleaner and more environmentally-friendly city for residents and visitors alike."

Last year, the Council received 50 complaints from members of the public on the specific issue of vehicle idling.

The Council is implementing the scheme at little cost and will not be making any profit from the £20 fine. Any money raised will go back into improving air quality across the city.

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