Camden agrees to issue anti-idling penalties

Camden council has adopted new powers to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers who fail to switch off their engines whilst stopped, as part of a new regime agreed by the authority last night (21 November).

The fixed penalty charges are enforced through powers available to the authority under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions)(Fixed Penalty)(England) Regulations 2002 to take action against drivers of vehicles which are “engine idling” unnecessarily.

Campaigners tackling engine idling in London

In documents published ahead of the meeting, the council noted: “In Camden 49% of Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and equivalent levels of particulate emissions are caused by local road traffic. Although the pilot cannot prevent the movement of transport in the borough, anti-idling enforcement can help to improve air quality by targeting air pollution caused by vehicles unnecessarily idling.

“The council does not currently have data regarding the amount of vehicles that idle engines unnecessarily in the borough, but aims to develop an understanding of this impact as part of the proposed pilot project.”


At last night’s cabinet meeting, councillors approved the implementation of a 12-month borough-wide pilot to test the effectiveness of using the powers to address engine idling.

Drivers found to be unnecessarily idling their vehicles by a council enforcement officer face an initial fixed penalty charge of £20, when paid within 28 days, rising to £40 after that period. Failure to pay could incur a maximum fine of up to £1,000 upon prosecution. Charges are fixed under the 2002 Regulations.

Exemptions include where a vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or queuing in traffic, where the engine is needed to refrigerate goods, for refuse compactors and at taxi ranks where taxis are not permitted to switch off their engine while plying for trade.

The documents note that in order for an offence to be enforced, it must have occurred and been witnessed by an authorised officer, at which point the driver will be asked to switch the engine off or face a penalty.

Councils are increasingly taking action to address engine idling, including Westminster city council which has promoted a campaign titled #Don’tBeIdle to tackle the issue.

Other London councils, as well as Sheffield city council have also explored measures to address engine idling, including the potential use of fines to deter persistent idlers.


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