#DontBeIdle: No-idling byelaws could be introduced to improve air quality, report suggests

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Author: | Updated: 30 Jun 2017 11:09

Do you leave your engine running on the school run? Well new byelaws could soon force you to turn it off – that’s if local authorities take up advice from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

NICE has set out a range of proposals that would help cut the 40,000 premature deaths toxic air causes every year, many of which are the most vulnerable – young children and the elderly.

Car key ignition – HighTechDad, Flickr

As such, NICE wants to encourage local authorities to take the matter into their own hands following the government’s air quality bill, and suggests that no-idling zones could be used outside schools and hospitals.

One council that’s already introduced the measure is Westminster, which also started charging old, high-polluting diesels more to park in areas that suffer from high air pollution.

Westminster City Council has already introduced the measure, along with diesel parking surcharges.

It’s the first area in the UK where you’ll be fined for leaving your engine idling too. So-called ‘air marshals’ now patrol the area and can even hand out an £80 fine if drivers refuse to turn their engines off while they are parked up.

Westminster council leader, Nickie Aiken said: “Westminster attracts over one million visitors a day with many travelling by car so it’s no wonder the city suffers from some of the worst pollution.

“We’re facing up to this big problem and making tackling poor air quality our number one priority buy we need your help because we can’t do it alone. That’s why we’ve launched #DontBeIdle. Sign our pledge and help make a difference.”

Traffic Warden, London

No idling is just one measure set out in the 62-page report, with NICE also suggesting that congestion charges should be rolled out in city centres across the country, and variable speed limits should be used on motorways.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes commented: “We welcome the principle of no-idling zones, especially outside schools, hospitals and care homes. Sadly, many drivers don’t realise the harm they are causing by doing this.”

Although the guidelines are just advisory, it’s expected that local authorities will be encouraged to introduce many of the measures. What do you think of the new measures? Are they a good idea? Let us know in the comments below.

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