Ealing Council look to ramp up £80 idling fine enforcement

By Rory Bennett - Local Democracy Reporter

7th Feb 2024 | Local News

Ealing introduced an £80 idling fine back in October 2023 (credit: Ealing Lib Dems & Ealing Council).
Ealing introduced an £80 idling fine back in October 2023 (credit: Ealing Lib Dems & Ealing Council).

Drivers are being warned that the council is preparing to ramp up its operations to stop idling cars, which includes those on school runs.

The measures, which include an £80 on-the-spot fine which was introduced in October 2023, aim to discourage people from stopping their car with the engine still running in Ealing.

While in some areas of the borough, this might come as welcome news, Ealing's opposition group the Liberal Democrats have warned parents that even short stops outside schools to pick up kids could result in a harsh fine. 

Ealing Labour has advised that they will be issuing an £80 fine for each idling offence, including around schools.

Despite the introduction of the fines taking place several months ago, drivers may have been lulled into a false sense of security as the council admits it has not yet issued one.

However, this is likely to change soon warns the opposition which says it has been informed by the council that stricter enforcement of the rules is on the horizon.

Concern has been raised that this change has not been properly communicated to residents, who may not be aware that they could find themselves with an £80 penalty for simply being parked with their car engine on.

Leader of Ealing Council, Peter Mason and Councillor Deirdre Costigan holding a 'no idling' sign (credit: Ealing Council).

There is an important reason why the charges have been introduced as the council explained when the fines were announced last year.

Idling is bad for a multitude of reasons including creating air pollution, using unnecessary fossil fuels and even the costs of idling can add up over time. 

If a typical vehicle idled for 10 minutes per day, within a six month period it could add up to around £60 in extra petrol costs.

Enforcement of the fines will likely be particularly stringent around schools as idling near playground gates has been a cause for concern for many councils for a number of years.

In particular, multiple cars all idling around home time could have detrimental health effects on young children due to daily exposure to high levels of air pollution.

Air pollution has led to 160 people dying prematurely in the borough every year, according to the council.

At the time of the announcement, Council Leader Peter Mason said: "Leaving car engines running unnecessarily pollutes the air we all breathe, adds to the climate crisis and causes asthma and other lung and heart conditions in both children and adults.

"Air pollution in our borough is avoidable and all it takes is switching off your engine when your car isn't moving whenever you can. It makes a huge difference to the air quality."

In response to news that the council will be ramping up enforcement efforts Councillor Gary Malcolm, Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition, said: "These idling fines will hit hard pressed residents in their pockets, a double whammy as Ealing Labour are likely to be raising council tax in the coming months, despite receiving extra funds from central government.

"We are concerned that Ealing Council have not made residents aware of the upcoming changes and we are side by side with residents in these difficult times."

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