Headline July 06, 2019/ '' 'LONDON'S TOXIC FUMES LOUNGING' ''


THE ISSUE OF TOXIC AIR has plagued London for years, with more than 9,000 Londoners, estimated to die prematurely each year from long-term exposure to pollution.

IN BEAUTIFUL LONDON there a few more unmistakable signs that summer has arrived in Britain than hearing the chimes of an ice cream truck from the street.

But Londoners could soon find it harder to track down soft-serve on a hot day because of fears that pollutants from the trucks' diesel engines may be endangering lives.

Councils, or district governments in the city are threatening to clamp down on ice cream trucks that roam their streets if they do not become more environmentally friendly.

''No one wants a side order of asthma with their ice cream,'' Caroline Russel, a Green Party member of the London Assembly, said in a recent interview.

Environmental issues have been at the forefront of Britain's political agenda for weeks. Just last month, officials introduced a charge on older, polluting vehicles in central London. Activists took over major London landmarks for weeks as part of a campaign to demand government action on climate change.

And a little later, Parliament declared a climate emergency, following in the steps of Scotland and Wales, and major British cities.

Although the musical chimes of ice cream trucks have been named one of Britain's happiest childhood memories, vendors ecological effects have been unable to escape scrutiny.

''The local authorities are cracking down on diesel vehicles driving around, pitching up and running their engine for hours, creating very serious health impacts,'' said Ms. Russel, the Green Party politician.

Ice cream truck owners said that Britons penchant for soft-serve ice cream is one of the drivers of the diesel pollution problem. The truck's freezer's can operate with the engine turned off, but the machines that pump out soft-serve ice cream need engine power to run.

''We have got to be conscious of the impact of diesel,'' Amy Rudgley, 25 who worked in ice cream trucks in London for eight years before starting her own business, Fat Cows Ice Cream, said in a  phone interview. ''But it has to be seen as a bigger picture  than just  ice cream vans,'' she added.

As he sat in his truck on a central London street, taking a break from serving hungry tourists and Londoners, Ndue Meli, 45, echoed the complaint. His truck which cost him 100,000 pounds, or $130,000 meets the latest European Union standard on emissions,'' he said.

''My van does not burn a lot of fuel,'' Mr. Meli said. ''I see black cabs, tourist buses and coaches which are all pumping out fuel. But the councils are putting everybody in the same boat.''

As London explores ways to reduce air pollution caused by all  diesel vehicles, one solution is offered is to install electric power points in popular spots, which would allow ice cream trucks to turn off their engines and run their machines on electricity instead.

That strategy is favored by Britain's ice cream industry trade body, the Ice Cream Alliance, over an outright ban.

''There is a danger of ice cream vans disappearing from our streets altogether,'' Zelica Carr, chief  executive of Ice Cream Alliance, said in a statement.

With respectful dedication to Londoners, Tourists, Mayor Sadiq Khan, Students, Professors and Teachers of Britain, and then  the world.

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''' Summer & Shimmers '''

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