Increased On-the-Spot Fines for Engine Idling

Last year, many local councils began to issue fines between £20-80 to people found leaving their engine running whilst parked. Now, as part of a new initiative to further reduce the amount of pollutants in urban areas, the Government has announced that those fines could rise as high as £500. 

Leaving your engine running – idling – whilst stationary has actually been illegal under the Road Traffic Act 1988 for a very long time; many councils, however, haven’t policed it. With a major focus placed on the environment and cleaner air, that changed last year as Nottingham, Norwich, Reading and London began issuing on-the-spot fines. Gaining traction fast, many other councils followed suit and quickly joined the initiative. 

Developing upon the above, the Government have now proposed that the fines for engine idling should increase significantly to a base fine of £100 and a repeat offender fine of £500. Whilst fines may vary based on the type of vehicle – car, vans, commercial vehicles, etc – the focus area of the new proposal will remain around schools. 

Speaking of the change Transport Secretary Chris Grayling 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”.

Studies have shown that before and after school hours, the areas around schools encounter a spike in pollutants as parents drop off and wait to collect their children from school. The stricter rules on engine idling could see those waiting with their engine running issued a much larger fine than before. 

According to the law, engine idling fines can only be issued if a car is idling unnecessarily and does not come into action if a car is stuck in traffic, being ran to diagnose a fault or has been left running in order to defrost the windscreen.

This focus on stationary idling is the latest in a long line of efforts to help increase the UK’s air quality. What do you think of this and all of the other schemes currently in place? We’d like to read your thoughts on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.

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