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Lambeth council to hand out 20 engine idling fines

Drivers who leave their engines idling in Lambeth could be issued £20 fines as part of a year-long campaign aimed at cutting traffic pollution in the borough

Drivers who leave their engines idling in Lambeth could be issued £20 fines as part of a year-long campaign aimed at cutting traffic pollution in the borough.

Campaign targets will include idling taxis and coaches in the Southbank and Waterloo Station areas of Lambeth

Campaign targets will include idling taxis and coaches in the Southbank and Waterloo Station areas of Lambeth

According to the council, the trial project is designed to reduce engine idling and to “assess how targeted interventions can change drivers’ behaviour”.

The trial is set to begin “shortly” and a council officer will be recruited to engage with drivers, Transport for London (TfL), coach companies and representatives of black cab drivers on the issue.

The officer will explain the impact of engine idling and persuade them to switch off their engines when not in use, but if a driver continues to idle for two minutes or more, a £20 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) will be issued under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002.

Similar engine idling fine campaigns have also been launched in Islington (see AirQualityNews.com story) and Westminster (see AirQualityNews.com story) in the UK capital.

At the beginning of the trial, penalty warning signs will also be displayed in the five selected trial areas and leaflets explaining why it is important not to idle will be distributed, as well as information published on the Lambeth council website.

Five specific locations in the borough where the likes of buses and taxis regularly drop off and pick up passengers have been earmarked for continuous air quality monitoring to be carried out before the council produces a report on the findings of the 12-month trial in May 2016.

As part of the report, the council said it would evaluate which interventions have been most successful at maintaining behaviour change and best value for money.

Targeted areas

The trial will monitor different modes of transport across five specific areas:

  • Buses starting and finishing their routes in Stockwell Park Walk
  • Black cabs waiting for fares at Waterloo Station and Clapham High Street
  • Buses at Streatham Hill bus station and West Norwood bus station
  • Schools around the borough where parents drop off and pick up their children by car
  • Coaches in South Bank and Waterloo area

The announcement came after Lambeth Green Party councillor Scott Ainslie asked the authority whether it would “recognise its responsibility to reduce the concentration of pollutants in outdoor air with a crackdown on engine idling in Lambeth” and begin issuing fines in a written question put to next week’s (May 20) full meeting of the council.

In response, Lambeth councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, cabinet member for environment and sustainability, said:

“We are committed to improving air quality in Lambeth. Idling must be seen in the context as one of a number of issues which contributes to air pollution in the borough – and we are therefore taking steps to reduce it through a trial intervention.”

She added: “Lambeth is now a Cleaner Air Borough, this status gives us access to more funding for projects like this. The Greater London Authority confirmed at the end of April that Lambeth has been awarded £59,000 from the Mayor’s Air Quality Fund to help us reduce idling and deliver on our commitment to improve air quality throughout the borough. We will continue working with TfL and other partners to make Lambeth cleaner and greener.”

She added: “We want our residents, businesses and stakeholders to help persuade others to improve air quality.”

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