Motorists encouraged to switch off engines for cleaner air

Road sign asking drivers to switch of engines while waiting

Nottingham City Council will begin taking action against idling – drivers who leave their engines running while waiting, particularly outside schools, at taxi ranks and at level crossings.

In a survey last year, 82 per cent of respondents supported taking action against engine idling, and the council will now be able to issue drivers leaving their engines running with a £20 fine.

Councillor Sally Longford, deputy leader of Nottingham City Council and portfolio holder for Energy and Environment said: “Clean air is important for us all to lead healthy lives and this is even more significant in children whose lungs are still developing. Switching your engine off while waiting is such a simple change, but can have huge benefits for air quality and public health.”

“City wide we’re taking bold steps to ensure that we have cleaner air. Transport emissions are one of the largest contributors to poor air quality, so many of our efforts have focused on this area – we’ve cleaned up older diesel buses, invested in biogas and electric buses, installed 300 charge points for electric vehicles, improved cycling facilities and of course the electric tram.

“This newest measure is to promote cleaner air on a local level; signs will be going up to promote the anti-idling message. The purpose of this is not to fine drivers but to educate them. Our Community Protection Officers will be outside schools talking to drivers waiting with engines running about the health implications of idling, asking them to switch off their engines. Only those who refuse to switch off when asked will be issued with a fine.”

Schoolchildren across the city are supportive of this measure; pupils at Middleton Primary School were out and about talking to idling drivers on clean air day in June.

Mark Brumwell, Headteacher at the Wollaton school, said: “Children are particularly vulnerable to exhaust emissions due to their height, but it’s likely many drivers waiting in their cars with engines running don’t realise how harmful these fumes can be.

“It’s important to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of road safety and our impact on the environment so we can all take action for cleaner air.”

Anyone can get involved in cleaning up our air by trying a greener mode of travel, such as walking or cycling to work or school, taking public transport, and switching off their engine.