New policy requirements designed to reduce school bus idling were released today by Education Minister Madeleine DubÃ©.
The main objective of the policy, the first of its kind in Canada, is to eliminate unnecessary idling for school buses and reduce student exposure to harmful air pollutants at and near schools.
“Ensuring healthy, safe and secure learning and working environments is an essential component of our Quality Learning Agenda,” DubÃ© said. “Reducing idling times at schools will protect our students from air contaminants as well as improve air quality in the surrounding area.”
The policy states that a driver must avoid idling the school bus. This includes during drop-off and
boarding times at school, when the bus is awaiting student dismissal and when parked. School buses may only idle during extreme weather conditions.
The policy also recommends school districts and schools encourage a non-idling practice for every motor vehicle on school property, including private vehicles.
Development of the new policy was done in co-operation with the New Brunswick Lung Association.
“The New Brunswick Lung Association has been a leader in promoting activities to create a safe and healthy environment,” the minister said. “We were pleased to work with the Lung Association to establish this policy.”
Some New Brunswick school districts and schools have already implemented bus idling policies and participated in successful pilot projects with the New Brunswick Lung Association.
“The Lung Association would like to congratulate the Department of Education for its forward thinking and collaborative approach to this important environmental health issue,” said Kenneth
Maybee, president and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association. “It is important to note that vehicle emissions are one of the number one causes of outdoor air pollution.”