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Drivers face spot fines for engine idling

Drivers could be subject to £20 on-the-spot penalties for leaving their engines running in the street as a growing number of cities turn to anti-idling measures to drive air quality.

dirty exhaust

A growing number of councils are looking at anti-idling measures

Nottingham City Council has become the latest city to consider actions as part of its consultation on clean air plans. Although the city was one of five identified under the Government’s 2015 air quality plan as needing to implement such a zone by 2020, the council announced a month ago that it was no longer looking at deploying a clean air zone as existing measures will bring it in line with legal limits. However, its newly launched consultation explores measures such as anti-idling legislation, focusing on area including outside schools, where young children are particularly vulnerable to tailpipe emissions because of their height and anywhere in the city where motorists sit with their engines idling.

Some 30 councils are also looking at such measures, which are already in place in Norwich, the Wirral, Reading and the London boroughs of Camden and Southwark, according to The TimesTfL is also under pressure to take action.

RAC heads of policy Nicholas Lye welcomed such increased focus, saying: “Idling engines can produce up to twice the amount of emissions of an engine in motion, and for drivers it can mean higher fuel bills too.

“Measures like this can play a big part in changing driver behaviour, by encouraging them to really think about how they reduce their emissions footprint. If schemes like this can make enough of a difference in reducing emissions, there may be less of a temptation for local authorities to implement wider charging schemes for drivers.”

However he said that the correct procedure should be for an enforcement officer to ask the driver to switch their engine off and only issue a penalty if they refuse.



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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.