Why Leaving Your Engine Running Could Cost You More Than You Think

Mon 6th Aug 2018

Drivers who leave their engine running while the car is stationary could be hit with £20 on-the-spot fines if they are at the roadside.

With more and more research linking vehicle emissions to premature deaths, drivers are being caught by local authorities who are introducing ‘anti-idling’ measures to cut roadside emissions.

Nottingham City Council is the latest local authority to investigate introducing the measure, whilst the public are being encouraged to report repeat offenders by asking them to provide registration numbers of those vehicles that are left with engines running.

Up to 30 councils now use these powers, with research showing that those living near busy roads are more at risk of developing dangerously swollen hearts. A study published this week by Kings College has said that measures such as segregated cycle lanes, road closures at peak times, more green space, improved pedestrianised zones and anti-idling operations outside of schools could lead to a 25 per cent reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels.

Though it has actually been an offence since 1986 to leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily, it was only in 2002 that new powers were handed to councils. A fine will only be given if a driver refuses to turn off the engine when asked by a police officer or traffic warden.

The RAC has backed the measures. “We welcome a focus on reducing unnecessary engine idling. The correct procedure should be for an enforcement officer to ask the driver to switch their engine off and if they refuse, they will be issued a penalty,” said Head of Roads Policy, Nicholas Lyes.

“Measures like this can play a big part in changing driver behaviour, by encouraging them to think about how they reduce their emissions footprint.”