Havant couple at war with bus company over vehicle pollution

FIGHT Dee and Gary Barnard are battling with bus companies. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (122477-5)
FIGHT Dee and Gary Barnard are battling with bus companies. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (122477-5)
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NOISE and fumes from coach and bus engines left idling are making the lives of a couple who live nearby a misery, they say.

Gary and Dee Barnard have lived in Market Parade, Havant, for 11 years.

But they say in the past two and a half years, coach and bus drivers have been leaving noisy engines running for up to 45 minutes while waiting at the designated stops in the street.

Despite a plea to Havant Borough Council to request a sign asking drivers to turn their engines off while stationary they have got nowhere.

Now 58-year-old Mr Barnard, a lorry driver, says he will take legal action against Emsworth and District bus company, Lucketts and other coach companies unless drivers start being more considerate.

He said: ‘The problem is the inconsiderate people who don’t turn their engines off.

‘We have the fumes from the engines coming into our living accommodation plus the noise of the engines running. We cannot have our windows open when it 
is hot.’

Mrs Barnard, 57, who works at Waitrose, said: ‘On the Jubilee weekend we actually called the police because it was gone 10pm when a coach was out there, dropping off holidaymakers, with the engine going for ages.

‘We are at our wits’ end.’

Under the Road Traffic Act 2002 it is an offence to leave engines idling unless vehicles are in traffic or being worked on and drivers are subject to a £20 fixed penalty notice which can be enforced by local authorities.

A spokeswoman for Havant Borough Council said Mr Barnard’s was the only complaint but they are looking into whether signage can be put up.

The environment team approached the companies informally two years ago to try and resolve the issue but they say they do not have power to fine over noise.

Pete Jeffrey, of Emsworth and District said he had warned drivers not to leave engines idling.

He added: ‘Our drivers all turn their engines off because of the grief we’ve had with him (Mr Barnard).

‘They don’t leave them running unnecessarily when they change over drivers, they shut right down.’

Paul Barringer, from Lucketts, said the firm only uses the stop once a day, far less frequently than other bus companies

He said: ‘Lucketts has pioneered fuel-saving techniques that help protect the environment and maintain costs.

‘Drivers are trained not to leave the engine idling if stationary, where practically possible.

‘However this has to be balanced against the passenger needs and traffic situation, health and safety being of prime importance to in respect of passengers and other road users in the community.’

Vision Travel, another firm singled out by the Barnards, insists it uses the stop only once a month.

Shearings Holidays said drivers have been advised not to leave engines running.