Poor air quality is a problem for us all, with countless studies having shown that the harm caused by toxic air is too serious to ignore. Dirty air is known to cause breathing problems, heart attacks and lung cancer and has increasingly been linked to dementia. Westminster has some of the highest air pollution in the country.
Exhaust emissions are a primary contributor to poor air quality and vehicles can produce up to twice as much fume when left stationary and idling. Buses, vans and cars that are left to belch out damaging pollutants while they idle are the target of Westminster City Council’s award-winning #DontBeIdle campaign, an initiative that aims to encourage everyone who drives in the city to switch off their engines when stationary to reduce unnecessary emissions and improve the air we all breathe.
At present, Council officers will talk to drivers and ask them to switch off their idling engines. If they refuse, an £80 fine can be issued as a last resort. Regrettably, this has not been enough to change the habits of persistent idlers who have been found to repeatedly offend despite fair warning. The Council needs greater powers in this area to deal with the problem.
That is why I am calling for the government to give local Councils, including Westminster, the power to be tougher on idling drivers and issue larger on-the-spot fines that send out a clear message about how seriously we are all taking this issue.
If you think engine idling is a problem and want to see Westminster City Council issue increased on-the-spot fines for drivers that repeatedly leave their engines to idle, then please show your support by adding your name to the petition below and sharing it with anyone you know who might be interested in backing my call on the government to give local authorities greater powers in this area.