Drivers in Southwark face spot fines for leaving engines running in the street as new research highlights the link between vehicle emissions and premature death. This will be a great benefit for Dulwich Village schools as well as others where busy roads pass by and drivers routinely keep their engines running when stationary.
Drivers could be hit with £20 on-the-spot penalties for refusing to turn off engines when cars are stationary by the roadside. In some areas, residents are being asked to report motorists who leave engines running, including providing the registration number, colour and car model of repeat offenders.
As well as Southwark, measures have been adopted by Norwich, Wirral, Reading and Camden.
Research has found that people living near busy roads are at risk of developing dangerously swollen hearts.
A study by King’s College London projecting the impact of vehicle emissions on life expectancy estimates that the measures to cut car use and promote more active lifestyles would lead to a reduction in nitrogen dioxide levels of up to 25 per cent between 2013 and 2020. Children born in 2013 would be expected to gain seven weeks of life as a result of the measures to cut car use and promote more active lifestyles.
It is an offence under laws introduced in 1986 to leave a “vehicle engine running unnecessarily”. New powers were handed to councils under the road traffic regulations 2002 in England to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 if motorists refuse to turn off engines when asked by traffic wardens or police. It can increase to £40 if unpaid after 28 days. Similar powers were introduced in Scotland and Wales in 2003 but most councils have previously opted not to exercise them.
According to the RAC, idling engines can produce emission levels twice as high as those in motion and it welcomes a focus on idling engines, expecting drivers to be fined if they failed to turn off.
Westminster council in central London was one of the first to adopt the fines as part of a concerted campaign. Last year, the authority said that it wanted to get even tougher on drivers by issuing parking charge notices of £80 to those leaving engines running. Westminster allows people to report repeat offenders, using the authority website to log details of cars involved.
Let’s hope it makes an improvement in Dulwich.
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