For the last three weeks, there has been a clapped-out ice cream van with its engine left running during the Thursday street market in Aldershot. One week top of Union Street, one week lower down in the middle of the market, this week in Wellington Street.
A diesel engine idling is bad at the best of times, noise and air pollution, there should therefore be zero tolerance of a diesel engine running all day long in a pedestrian street, where you do not expect either engine noise or pollution.
The exhaust from the ice cream van is only a few inches above the ground. Those worst affected will be toddlers and children in buggies, those most vulnerable. They will be subject to NOx and diesel particulates, neural toxins and harmful to lungs.
Running an engine while a vehicle is stationary pollutes the environment and is against the law on a public road.
If a vehicle is idling it can produce up to twice as much exhaust emissions as when it is moving. Exhaust fumes contain a wide range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10). These detrimentally affect the quality of the air we all breathe.
Diesel vehicles emit four times more NO2 and twenty-two times more PM10 than petrol vehicles.
In Islington, 200 premature deaths a year from poor air quality.
Many areas of the country exceed World Health Organisation guidelines and EU limits, and as a result face EU imposed fines.
Islington, the first borough to do so, has zero tolerance of idling engines. Anyone who leaves an engine running faces an on-the-spot fine of £20 (doubled to £40 if not paid).
- Islington: Vehicle Air Pollution – idling vehicles
- Drivers who leave motor running in Islington will be fined in first ‘idling’ campaign in the country
This ice cream van must be removed, and it begs the question why was it tolerated or granted permission in the first place?
It appears it was the market manager who granted permission, but as the street is closed to vehicles during the day until 4pm (6-30pm on market days) the market manager has no authority to grant permission. And as already noted, it is illegal to idle an engine on a public road.
Why is there no enforcement? Why is there no enforcement of vehicles driving down Union Street and along Wellington Street on market days, when access is not permitted until after 6-30pm?
If an ice cream van is desired, then invite Dylan’s ice cream, locally sourced quality ice cream and the van does not leave the engine running.
But this raises a further question: Why an ice cream van when there is an ice cream parlour cum coffee shop at the top of Union Street? Should the market be stealing business from local businesses, or do we wish to see more empty retail units?