News: Switch off your engine when parked or face fine, council tells drivers

£20 penalty excludes those in traffic or stopped at traffic lights

Council fines drivers for idling

A COUNCIL is fining drivers who leave their car’s engine idling unnecessarily.

Islington Council says an idling engine (one that is switched on and just ticking over) can release more pollution than one that is moving. To encourage drivers to switch off, it is threatening them with on-the-spot fines of £20.

Search for and buy your next car on

Teams of council enforcement officers will tour the borough’s streets educating motorists who are parked with their car’s engine running, about the harm they are doing to the environment. If they refuse to switch it off, they will be fined. According to the mayor of London’s office, over 200 people die in Islington each year as a result of poor air quality.

The council is advising drivers to switch off their car’s engine if it looks like they’ll be waiting for a minute or more. It has promised to target drivers waiting in car parks, petrol stations, laybys, and pick-up and collection points.

Cars waiting at traffic lights or stuck in traffic, and those whose engines are being run to defrost the windscreen are exempt.

The council says it is only enforcing the law which forbids a driver to idle their car’s engine unnecessarily when stationary, or face a fixed penalty notice.

Its action is the latest in a flurry of initiatives intended to tackle vehicle pollution. Last week, Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced that drivers of diesel cars might have to pay an extra £10 to enter central London from 2020, under plans for a new “ultra-low emission zone”.