Tower Bridge drivers urged to turn off idling car engines

Drivers waiting to cross London’s Tower Bridge are being urged to turn off their engines while the bridge is raised as part of an initiative backed by the Mayor’s £20 million air quality fund.

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The Tower Bridge signs switch between messages

According to the Mayor of London’s office, Tower Bridge is raised around 900 times a year, affecting some of the 31,000 vehicles crossing the River Thames every day.

Delivered by Southwark and Tower Hamlets borough councils, the ‘no engine idling’ scheme launched this week (February 11) with new road signs on Tower Bridge informing drivers of the fuel savings and emissions benefits from switching off their engines while waiting to cross the bridge.

Southwark council has also installed an air pollution monitoring station to measure the impact of the Tower Bridge scheme.

Southwark councillor Barrie Hargrove – cabinet member for parks, public health and leisure – said: “The anti-idling scheme is a good example of joint working and it would be great to see more support coming through for local projects. I hope this scheme raises awareness about the damaging effects of idling with your engine on and encourages drivers across the capital to think carefully about ways they could help reduce air pollution.”

Air quality fund

The scheme is one of a number of projects across London’s 28 boroughs announced this week as recipients of a share of £5 million from the Mayor’s air quality fund, which has been supporting schemes aimed at tackling pollution for the past three years.

Other projects awarded funding include the installation of hundreds of electric vehicle charging points on lamp posts in Hounslow, and a green courier service in Waltham Forest which uses cargo bikes and electric vehicles for shoppers on local high streets.

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One of the signs on the road leading to Tower Bridge encouraging drivers against engine idling

Dust enforcement officers are also being placed on the capital’s building sites with the job of enforcing emissions standards for construction machinery and helping to deliver trials of new technology to reduce the need for older, more polluting Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM).

Meanwhile, plans have been put forward to expand the London Borough’s Consolidation Centre, which has halved road deliveries to council offices since it began through sharing a main distribution centre for major courier firms.

According to the Mayor, extra funding will now allow local businesses to start using the consolidation centre and cut their own deliveries and emissions.

And, in Haringey, the fund is supporting a ‘No to NO2’ project to set up school walking zones and cycle maintenance workshops to encourage the move away from driving.

Low Emission Neighbourhoods

The Mayor also has announced his intention to award £1 million to at least two flagship ‘Low Emission Neighbourhoods’ in the capital.

Nine boroughs have been chosen to work up proposals for transforming a local neighbourhood with a host of measures to improve walking, cycling and air quality.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson MP, said: “Protecting the well-being of Londoners is vital and these great projects, coupled with my plans for the world’s first Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in 2020, are part of the  bold measures we need, along with the strong support of the government and the EU, to win London’s pollution battle.”