Ice cream machines and refrigerators are linked to a move by councils to ban ice cream vans from some parts of London.
A number of local authorities in the council plan to implement the restriction as part of measures to crack down on toxic air pollution.
Most ice cream vans run on diesel and release high levels of black carbon.
The vans need to keep their engines running even while stationary in order to power on-board freezers and ice cream equipment.
The Evening Standard reported last night that Camden Council plans to install “no ice cream trading” signs for the first time in 40 streets, as well as increasing enforcement officer patrols and issuing fines to sellers who break the rules.
It said that Westminster Council will also be enforcing trading laws to prevent ice cream sellers operating in streets near schools.
A Camden Council spokesman said: “Idling ice cream vans pump out harmful chemicals like NO2 [nitrogen dioxide] and black carbon which is why the council is introducing measures to reduce and remove this traffic around schools and other public spaces.”
Vans operating in central London are affected by the ultra low emission zone, which recently came into force and charges affected vehicles £100 a day.
However, ice cream vans are exempt from engine idling regulations because of their on-board refrigerators, the Standard noted.
Green Party London Assembly member Caroline Russell told the paper: “No one wants to be the fun police or see people lose their businesses. But people don’t want a side order of asthma with their ice cream. This is a serious health issue. The Ulez charge has helped but we can’t have a situation where you can pay to pollute. The roaming vans that trade in different streets every day, those will disappear over the next few years.”
Councils are understood to be mooting the idea of installing electricity power points in public spaces where ice cream sellers trade, in order for them to be able to power their catering equipment without their engines running.