London failing on fines for idling drivers

A new report has revealed just 0.1% of vehicle owners found parked with engines on are being charged in the UK capital. 

The Guardian newspaper has published an investigation into the use of local authority powers to charge drivers for idling unnecessarily in London, which shows the vast majority of offenders are not being penalised. 

cars parked in front of brown concrete building during daytime

According to the work, only one in 1,000 drivers in central found parked with their engines running have been fined. Westminster council, which quadrupled fines from £20 in 2017 and claims the worst air quality in the UK, received 70,000 reports of illegal idling over the past four years, but only issued 63 fines. 

Following a Freedom of Information request, it has been found that overall 99.9% of all idling cases ended in so-called ‘soft action’, which could mean drivers were simply asked to switch off their engines, the individual drove off, or was left unchallenged. The numbers are particularly worrying given the clean air crisis currently facing city, where some 4,000 annual deaths are attributed to air pollution.

Earlier this month, it emerged that toxic air in region had led to more than 1,700 asthma hospitalisations, while in February data was released showing every hospital, medical centre, and care home in London was located in an area that failed to meet World Health Organisation minimum clean air standards. More recently, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced plans to expand the current Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole of London by 2023. 

Image credit: Abbilyn Zavgorodniaia


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paul waldmann
paul waldmann
2 years ago

Idling engines is down to pure ignorance on behalf of 99% 0f drivers. A good campaign of education would go a long way to curing this problem except for commercial vehicles which appear duty bound to have the engines running at all times when stationary. Beggars belief really!

Fred Rodgers
Fred Rodgers
2 years ago

Isn’t the problem that the government hasn’t produced the necessary signage that would enable PCNs to be issued without a warning having to be issued. Seems that one was promised in 2019 but nothing’s been seen since. LB Islington has it’s own prominent signs but a request is still necessary before a PCN can be issued. In the City of London there are minute signs above bead height on walls.

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