MEDIA RELEASE (Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury) - Clearing the air on the proposed anti-idling bylaw

Feb 7, 2012

MEDIA RELEASE (Coalition for a Liveable Sudbury) - Clearing the air on the proposed anti-idling bylaw

This post has not been approved by Media Co-op editors!

Reducing unnecessary idling means reducing unnecessary negative impacts to our health and to our environment.  

Why does Greater Sudbury need an idling bylaw?


1)  Education plus a bylaw will be the most effective in reducing idling
-Research shows that education combined with a bylaw is  2-3 times more effective than education alone.
- This can be seen at a daily basis at any school drop off area, where parents regularly idle for long periods, right next to ‘idle free zone’ signage.

2)  A bylaw allows problem situations to be dealt with
-  Whether it is dealing with a problem area where idling regularly occurs, or alleviating a resident’s health problems caused by recurrent idling, a bylaw will allow problem idling to be addressed.

3)  A bylaw makes the statement that our community wants to protect our health, our air quality, and our environment by getting rid of unnecessary idling.

Some members of the public have raised their concerns about the proposed bylaw.  Almost all objections are based on a misunderstanding of the bylaw, and almost all concerns raised are already taken into account in the bylaw, as is.   An education period is planned prior to enforcement, which will give residents time to clearly understand the bylaw.

In the meantime, here are some answers to frequently asked questions: 

Q.  Are Sudbury winters too cold for an idling bylaw to make sense here?
A.  No.  Exemptions in the proposed bylaw address the need to defrost your windows to drive safely, and the need to keep warm on very cold days.   There are exemptions for both extreme cold and extreme heat.

Q. Will I get a ticket for idling in a drive thru?
A. No. This  bylaw will not affect anyone waiting in a drive thru.
However, you should ask yourself if you really want to idle your car for a 99 cent coffee when that 10 minute idle will cost you an extra 40 cents for gas, according to National Resources Canada (for a 3L engine). 

Q. Will the city be hiring extra bylaw officers and should I expect a bylaw officer at the end of my driveway checking to see if I am idling unnecessarily?
A. No. Bylaw officers will be given the extra role of enforcing an Idling Control Bylaw, as they go about their regular work.  Tickets will only be issued after an education period has passed.

Q. Isn’t education enough to reduce unnecessary idling?
A. Education is essential and there will be an education campaign before the bylaw comes into effect. Studies show that combining education and a bylaw work best to reduce unnecessary idling. Also, where regular idling is causing a health risk for a resident, the bylaw allows the problem to be addressed.

Q. Does Sudbury have to start with a one minute bylaw? I’ve heard other cities have a three-minute bylaw.
A. Many cities started with a three-minute bylaw and then after a few years moved to a one-minute bylaw. Sudbury could start with a three-minute bylaw.

Q. Do I have to turn off my engine when I’m stuck in traffic?
A. No. This bylaw does not apply to cars in traffic. However, common sense tells us that if a train is crossing in front of us that turning off your engine will save you money and reduce pollution.

Q.  Why does Sudbury need an Idling Control Bylaw?
A.  Vehicle emissions contribute to poor air quality and exacerbate smog

In Greater Sudbury, vehicles accounts for:
•70% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions
•32% of volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions
    (NOx + VOC react to produce ground-level ozone)
•8% of fine matter (PM2.5) emissions
•64% of carbon monoxide (CO) emissions

In 2005, air pollution in Sudbury lead to:
62 Premature Deaths
140 Hospital Admissions
589 Emergency Visits
306,270 Minor Illness Days
In 2008, the number of Premature Smog Deaths for Sudbury was 118.

Young children are especially at risk.  Vehicle emissions is linked to increased risk of breast cancer.

Sudbury has the second highest per capita vehicle emissions in Canada at 2,844 kg/CO2 per capita. By reducing idling in Sudbury, we can lower our emissions, which contribute to climate change.  ~2.3 kg of carbon dioxide is generated for every litre of gasoline.