Lewisham is set to introduce tougher measures to tackle engine idling, which can cause more pollution than when a car is moving.
Drivers will be fined up to £80 from February 2020 if they do not turn off their engine after being asked to do so and given time to comply.
The fines will be enforced through penalty charge notices (PCNs), which will be issued by civil enforcement officers.
The council has been raising awareness of the pollution caused by engine idling around schools, including through events at schools, local assemblies and meetings with community groups.
Lewisham says public attitudes to idling need to be changed quickly as many do not realise the risk it poses to people’s health and the environment.
Air quality in London already is a public health crisis with thousands of people in the city dying prematurely each year.
In the most heavily polluted parts of the city it is increasing people’s risk of heart disease and asthma.
Some studies have highlighted the staggering levels of pollution outside schools, nurseries, doctors’ surgeries and hospitals.
It’s been an offence to leave a ‘vehicle engine running unnecessarily’ since 1986, and powers were handed to councils in 2002 in England to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 if motorists refuse to turn their engine off when asked to by a traffic warden.
However, in practice enforcement has been difficult, with only a handful of fines issued.
You might also be interested in the latest Climate Emergency update from Lewisham Council here which outlines some of the Council’s plans for achieving a carbon neutral borough by 2030.