Coach drivers face parking ban if they keep engines idling

Coaches could be banned from parking in central London amid concerns about their damaging effect on air quality.

Westminster City Council has written to operators saying that dedicated parking spaces could be replaced with electric vehicle charging points or small parks if drivers don’t turn off their engines while stopped.

The Times reports that the council has 68 coach parking spaces, many outside schools and houses or in areas with heavy pedestrian use. It is also home to many of London’s most popular tourist attractions, such as Westminster Abbey, Oxford Street and Buckingham Palace, which attract a large number of tourist buses.

Tim Mitchell, the council’s cabinet member for the environment, told the newspaper that some coach companies had been receptive to its calls to improve air quality.

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However, he said: “We’re getting pretty fed up with the rest of the coach industry, who simply haven’t engaged at all.

“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.”

Westminster has previously revealed plans to charge people who park more-polluting cars in the borough a surcharge of up to £7.35 per hour for pre-2015 diesels.