Nova Scotia

N.S. government introduces anti-idling law

One year from now, school, transit and tour buses won't be allowed to idle in Nova Scotia.

School, transit and tour buses won't be allowed to idle in Nova Scotia one year from now.

The Dexter government introduced anti-idling legislation Friday.

Nova Scotia would be the first province to enact such a law, although idling by-laws are already in place in several Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver.

"Nova Scotians expect this government to take a leadership role in matters related to climate change," said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau in a statement released Friday. "As a province, we can do better to reduce unnecessary and harmful vehicle emissions so we can improve air quality and quality of life for Nova Scotians today and over time."

The legislation will require school bus companies, tour bus operators and transit authorities to have an anti-idling policy in place by Oct. 1, 2011.

It will also require government to adopt an anti-idling policy for provincial vehicles.

In addition to improving air quality, Belliveau said the legislation would also reduce maintenance and fuel costs.

"We hope Nova Scotians see the example we're setting and follow suit by reducing their idling," said Belliveau.

At the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board, it's already the practice to avoid idling, and will soon be policy. 

The board is equipping its bus engines with a pre-warming system. Head driver Hugh Parker says drivers will no longer have to let buses sit and idle until engines reach operating temperatures.

"We installed a heater. It's hard-wired right to our system. The timer, we set the time for it to come on an hour in the morning and depending on the temperature it determines how long this heater will run. It's easier on the motor as well, no cold starts," explained Parker. 

The board has around 275 buses and not having to idle big diesel engines will save the board money. Conserve Nova Scotia, the government's agency for energy efficiency, is also helping pay for a new GPS-equipped radio system to track bus and routing efficiencies.

According to the Nova Scotia government, if 1,000 drivers avoided idling for three minutes a day, it would reduce fuel use by almost 25,000 litres a year, saving them approximately $25,000 annually and reducing over 59,000 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per year.