Drivers could be fined for leaving engines idling when parked

New Government proposals would see rules around idling engines toughened up, with offending drivers being fined more

Drivers who leave their engines idling when parked could face stricter rules and increased fines if new Government proposals are enacted.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced his intention to hold a public consultation into the matter in an effort to improve air quality in areas with large numbers of waiting vehicles, such as outside schools, at taxi ranks and bus stations.

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Although local authorities already have the power to fine drivers who commit the offence, the Department for Transport (DfT) wants to toughen the rules in order to put a stop to “unnecessary” air pollution.

Local authorities already have the power to give drivers who commit the offence a default fine of £20, which can increase to £80 if the driver is a repeat offender. The consultation, which is likely to launch in the summer, will look at how best to deal with repeat offenders and may also see the default fine rise to around £100.

In May, Jesse Norman MP – who was a transport minister at the time – exclusively told Auto Express that the DfT was “seriously considering” the issue of idling vehicles, while a spokesperson for Westminster City Council confirmed that representatives from both the DfT and the council were meeting to discuss the matter.

The issue had been brought to public attention when Westminster City Council requested powers to issue instant fines without warning to drivers who are caught leaving their engines running unnecessarily.

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The council said such a policy would be enforced by its parking marshals, who would first talk to an offending driver and request that they turn their engine off, only issuing a fine as a “last resort” to those that refuse to comply.

That said, if the policy is implemented on a local or national level following the DfT consultation, any resulting legislation might dictate that other enforcement methods are used, with councils either using their own employees or possibly working with the police.

“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,” Grayling said. “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.”

Should instant fines be given to drivers who leave their engines running? Let us know in the comments…

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