Drivers want crackdown on motorists who leave engines running when parked

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Seven in 10 drivers want councils to take action against motorists who leave their engines running when parked, a new survey suggests.

Some 44 per cent of those in favour of a crackdown say officials should tell people to switch of their engines and fine them if they refuse, the RAC poll indicated.

Only a handful of councils use existing powers to hand out £20 fines, the motoring services firm said.

Two out of five (40 per cent) of the 2,130 drivers questioned stated that they regularly witness vehicles parked at the side of roads with their engines running. Some 26 per cent have spotted drivers doing this outside schools.

More than half of those surveyed replied that they are more concerned about the impact that vehicle emissions have on the environment and public health than they were three years ago.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so.

“Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders. This is no doubt needed to bring about a change in behaviour.

“You could liken the current situation with engine idling to that of taking your own carrier bags to the supermarket: everyone knew it was the right thing to do, but few of us did it until a compulsory charge was introduced.”

Local Government Association transport spokesman David Renard said: “Although fines to drivers who leave their engines idling are issued as a last resort, the legislation to enable this is hard to enforce in practice.”