The Government has set its sights on toughening up rules on vehicle idling, with heavier fines for drivers who leave their engine running while parked.
Idling is when a vehicle’s engine is left running while it is stationary for a period of time – increasing use of fuel, emissions and noise levels.
The DfT says vehicle idling is a major factor in poor air quality, particularly in areas with large numbers of waiting vehicles.
The new plans – which would represent the biggest change to the rules since 2002 – will also provide guidance to local authorities on their anti-idling powers, enabling them to enforce the law more effectively.
It is hoped the move will reduce ‘unnecessary air pollution’ outside schools, taxi ranks and bus stations.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: “We are determined to crack down on drivers who pollute our communities by leaving their engines running, particularly outside school gates where our children are breathing in this toxic air.
“Putting a stop to idling is an easy way to drive down dangerously high levels of pollution, reducing its impact on the environment and our health.”
Tackling idling in London
In recent years, a number of boroughs have launched initiatives and stepped up efforts to tackle vehicle idling.
In November 2018, Hounslow Council launched a public consultation as a first step towards prohibiting engine idling across the borough.
Hounslow hopes to introduce an anti-idling Traffic Management Order – allowing enforcement officers to issue penalty charge notices while on patrol. The applicable fine to the motorist would be £60, discounted to £30 if paid within 14 days.
Meanwhile in 2017, schoolchildren in Brent spearheaded a campaign designed to reduce vehicle emissions outside schools in the borough.
The idling campaign called on parents/carers taking part in the school run to avoid committing the act while waiting for their children.
As part of the campaign, eight schools across the borough took part in a competition to design a ‘no idling’ logo.
02 July 2019