Portsmouth bus drivers accused of 'polluting the city' as they leave buses running during their breaks

Bus drivers have reportedly been leaving their engines running when they stop for a break. Picture: First Group
Bus drivers have reportedly been leaving their engines running when they stop for a break. Picture: First Group
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BUS drivers in Portsmouth have been criticised for leaving their engines running when they stop for a break – affecting the air quality in the area.

Drivers operating services run by First Bus along Copnor Road have been spotted puling into a bus stop to take a break – but are leaving their engines on.

The latest sighting comes a day after Portsmouth City Council warned that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs could enforce a clean air zone on Portsea Island, to combat unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide.

Lee Burr, 44, lives next to a bus stop in Copnor Road. The removal man said: ‘Every five minutes or so there is a bus parking up with the driver leaving the engine on.

‘All you can hear from the living room is the sound of the engines being left running, and the pollution is so bad that I can barely ever sit in my garden.

‘When you’re driving a car or a van, you’re told when you get to a stop you should turn your engine off – so I don’t understand why it should be different for bus drivers.’

First Bus insists that it expects drivers to switch their engines off.

Mr Burr, who has lived in the same home for around eight years, says the issues really picked up at the start of this year.

‘It just seems to be getting worse,’ he said.

‘You can smell the fumes all the time and I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case if they were to switch their engines off.’

Portsmouth City Council launched the ‘Cough, Cough. Engine Off.’ campaign back in January to fight back against drivers leaving their engines idling.

Figures released by Public Health England earlier this year stated that air pollution in Portsmouth contributes to 95 deaths a year.

A spokesman for First Bus said: ‘We fully support the ‘Cough, Cough. Engine Off.’ campaign and our drivers are well aware of the campaign and our expectations that engines are not kept running needlessly.

‘Residents are encouraged to let the operator know of any instances such as the one reported, so that we can address the issue.’