London councils warn drivers of idling penalties

An inner-London local authority has warned parents dropping their children at school that they could face a fixed penalty fine of £20 if they fail to switch off their engine when requested.

Wandsworth borough council issued the warning on Friday (5 January) ahead of action by council officials to clamp down on engine idling and dangerous parking close to schools.

Signage at Wandsworth schools encourages drivers to switch their engines off when stationary

The council has carried out a long-running campaign against engine idling through a network of volunteer Air Quality Champions, who have sought to spread messages around air pollution to drivers.

Other measures to address air quality within the district include a borough-wide 20mph speed limit, restrictions on delivery vehicles on busy high streets, and action to tackle air pollution from construction projects.

Transport and environment spokesman Cllr Jonathan Cook said: “Most parents on the school run are eminently sensible and do not cause any problems.

“However there are a few that park dangerously or leave their engines running for extended periods of time while talking to their children or other parents or while they do a quick dash through the school gates.

“This is the kind of behaviour we are trying to discourage. Leaving engines running unnecessarily damages the air we all breathe including their own children so we are keen to stamp it out.”


Vehicle idling has been recognised as a key area for action to tackle air pollution by a number of local authorities, including neighbouring Westminster which is renewing its efforts under the #Don’tBeIdle campaign to address the issue.

According to the council, the campaign which calls for residents, businesses and visitors to sign a pledge to stop engine idling, has now attracted over 5,000 supporters.

Westminster’s #Don’tBeIdle campaign has attracted over 5,000 supporters

Drivers in Westminster are also subject to potential penalty charge notices of up to £80, which were introduced in February 2017, for persistent failure to switch off engines if requested by local authority officers.

Commenting on the #Don’tBeIdle campaign, Cllr David Harvey, Cabinet Member for Environment, Sports and Community, said: “This campaign is really sparking the imagination of people in the city. Poor air quality is our residents’ number one concern and we are fully committed to leading the way on this issue. You don’t need to be a driver to pledge. This issue affects us all and pledging adds your voice to those calling for cleaner air in the capital and we need your support to make a difference.

“We are taking a polluter pays approach to air quality. Through our ground breaking Low Emission Neighbourhoods here in Marylebone and the North Bank we are working with businesses, landowners and local residents to drive forward change.”


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