Southwark Council will introduce fines for drivers who leave their engines idling

Owen Sheppard (23 November, 2017) Environment Transport

New measures will be introduced next year, in hope to reduce air pollution

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Southwark Council looks set to introduce fines for drivers who leave their vehicle engine running whilst idle, in a bid to cut air pollution.

Under new measures, parking enforcement officers will be able to issue penalty charge notices to car, bus, taxi and HGV drivers who refuse to switch off their engines when asked.

A council spokesperson said details of size of the fines, and the date of when the policy would be implemented, were yet to be decided.

But Westminster Council, which was the first borough to adopt the policy, has been dishing out fines of £80.

The plans are designed to crack down on the growing problem of air pollution, which contributes to more than 9,000 early deaths in the capital each year, according to research by King’s College London.

Councillor Maisie Anderson, Southwark’s cabinet member for public health and social regeneration, said: “As part of the council’s bold new Air Quality Action Plan we are taking steps to introduce engine idling enforcement – this is due to go live in the new year.

“While making arrangements for idling enforcement, we have also led and encouraged many voluntary anti-idling patrols at known idling hot-spots, to raise driver awareness of the health risks associated with engine idling.”

Cllr Maisie Anderson

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is encouraging other authorities to follow suit. And a report by the London Assembly’s Environment Committee’s found that cars, buses, HGVs and vans produce 43 per cent of all nitrogen oxides (NO2) pollution in the capital.

But the proposals were not looked upon kindly by the chair of Bermondsey-based London Cab Drivers’ Club, Grant Davis.

“This is typical lunacy, you have only got to look at the congestion that has been caused by the cycle super highways, and the works that have been done at Elephant and Castle, to realise councils and TfL have added to the congestion problems we have,” Grant said.

“From a cab driver’s point of view, I can say the industry is doing its bit. From January, any cab driver who wants to replace his car will legally have to buy an electric zero-emissions vehicle.”

In April, this newspaper published results of a study by Greenpeace, which revealed the presence of dangerous levels of NO2 near 44 nurseries and pre-schools in the borough.

The council’s plans were put out to public consultation by Southwark in December 2016 and January this year, and were approved by Cabinet in July. Southwark’s Air Quality Action Plan can be seen in full at: www.southwark.gov.uk/environment/air-quality/strategies-plans-and-reports