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07.10.19

LGA responds to council crackdown on drivers who leave their engine running

The RAC has released a statement today with damning statistics relating to vehicles being left stationary with the engine running. They are calling on councils to be tougher on this and potentially issue fines upon refusal to comply.

According to a study carried out by RAC, 72% of drivers want to see councils deal with motorists who leave their engines running when parked. 44% of those said council officials should be able to fine them if they are unwilling to switch off their engine.

Councils already have the option to issue £20 fines to drivers who leave their vehicles idle, releasing harmful emissions into the air, but many members choose not to enforce this measure.

Of the 2,130 drivers surveyed by the RAC, 26% believe that a fine is unnecessary and clear instructions are sufficient. On the other end of the spectrum 2% staunchly believe that offenders should be fined without warning.

A huge 88% of respondents said they see stationary cars parked by the side of the road with their engine running, a worrying 26% said they saw drivers doing this outside schools.

When stopped in traffic however, attitudes are very different with 29% stating they would never turn off their engines no matter how long they were stuck for. The worry with this is the environmental impact occurring as a result of something as simple as turning the engine off.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:

“It is clear from our research that the vast majority of drivers are far more aware of the impact of vehicle emissions than they were three years ago. They are conscious of pollution from parked vehicles running their engines needlessly to the point they want to see local councils taking some form of action against those who do this. At the very least they would like a council official to speak to those who do it and ask them to switch off.

“Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so. Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders. This is no doubt needed to bring about a change in behaviour.

“You could liken the current situation with engine idling to that of taking your own carrier bags to the supermarket: everyone knew it was the right thing to do, but few of us did it until a compulsory charge was introduced. While the law is already in place for idling, enforcement is limited, if not non-existent.

the Local Government Association’s (LGA)  transport spokesman, Cllr David Renard, said:
 
“Councils are playing a pivotal role in tackling air pollution to improve people’s health and quality of life, including working with schools to set up car free streets to prevent engine idling.
 
“Other measures include encouraging the use of electric vehicles with recharging points, promoting cycling, managing air pollution monitoring networks and introducing clean air zones.
 
“Although fines to drivers who leave their engines idling are issued as a last resort, the legislation to enable this is hard to enforce in practice.
 
“To further tackle air pollution, the Government needs to use the Queen’s Speech to give councils outside London more powers to enforce offences such as banned turns and obstructing yellow box junctions, which would help unblock congestion hotspots and reduce pollution from stationary and slow-moving traffic.” 

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