Ripon residents say driving instructors have ‘taken over’ road for lessons making their lives a ‘misery’
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At a full meeting of Ripon City Council on Monday night, neighbours Geoff Haldenby and Marjorie Sanderson addressed councillors to say as many as nine instructors have been spotted using the road at one time with several leaving their engines running idle whilst they stop.
They fear the idling is worsening air quality in the area and exacerbating health conditions of older residents.
The RAC says with most instances of idling come from ‘avoidable’ road situations.
Studies have shown air pollution is linked to a myriad of health impacts including lung problems, heart disease, cancer and dementia.
Under the Road Traffic Act 2002, it’s an offence to be parked with an engine running.
Some councils issue fines for motorists who refuse to turn their engines off after being asked by a traffic officer.
A North Yorkshire Council spokesperson was unable to confirm if it enforces the legislation but other nearby councils such as York do.
Ms Sanderson said she asked one instructor to turn the engine off but received a volley of abuse.
She added: “They sit with their cars ticking over and not the turning engines off, they’re creating pollution.
"I have neighbours with asthma and some need oxygen because of it.”
Many modern cars have stop-start technology, which automatically switches the engine off when the vehicle is stationary.
But Mr Haldenby said it is not being used by the driving instructors.
He believes recent health problems could have been caused by poor air quality.
He said: “I’ve had five bouts of pneumonia, something has happened in the area to make air quality poor and I urge the council to do something about it.”
Council leader Andrew Williams, who is also part of the ruling Conservative and Independents group on North Yorkshire Council, said he wants to see the issue resolved and will raise the matter with the council and North Yorkshire Police.
Councillor Williams said: “There’s very clearly an issue with respect of driving instructors having virtual ownership of the road to teach driving classes – it isn’t appropriate.
"The problem is it’s a wide stretching road which makes practicing parallel parking easier.
"I’ve driven down South Grange Road and seen two or three parked up in different locations.”