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Hackney filmmaker highlights irony of TfL’s “turn off your engine” campaign

The buses parked up down Ash Grove waiting to get into the bus depot. The buses parked up down Ash Grove waiting to get into the bus depot.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
8:54 AM

A Hackney filmmaker has put his professional skills into action to highlight the noise coming from buses idling and honking horns outside his home throughout the night.

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Dan Smith, director of Pukka Films, is angry about buses which park in Ash Grove and keep him awake in the early hours, generating fumes, and contradicting TfL’s “turn off your engine” campaign.

He has made a film of the problem and uploaded it to video sharing website YouTube.

Before Mr Smith complained last summer buses would double park down the small side street which leads to the bus depot. He said it was commonplace for 20 unattended buses to be parked at any one time between 8pm and 3am.

As there were too many buses to fit into the station, he said drivers would end their shifts by leaving the buses parked with their engines on and no driver present, before the “shunters” moved down the backlog for safety and litter checks.

Sometimes the jam would extend so far it would jut dangerously out into Mare Street, Mr Smith said.

Hackney Council stepped in and the noise pollution team branded the situation a statutory noise nuisance.

Since then, the bus operators have implemented new measures to control arrival and departure times, but Mr Smith said buses are still queuing up between midnight and 3am.

He said:“TfL have a campaign which is publicised by a picture of a pair of lungs with keys.

“It seems desperately ironic that on one hand they are telling people to turn off their engines, but there is an entire garage there with about 20 buses outside my home which are doing just that.”

He continued: “I always wake up because I can hear them shouting, I’m not a light sleeper, and sometimes it wakes up my six-month-old son.

“We have double glazing, but even with the windows shut you can hear it, I never used to have problems sleeping and I do now.”

Peter Mhagrh, regional general manager for Arriva London, said the company works “extremely hard” to ensure residents are not disrupted by their operations.

“We expect our employees to behave professionally at all times and our drivers not to leave buses running or vehicles blocking access for local residents,” he said.

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