Anti-idling in Hounslow

Anti-idling image
With thanks to the Mayor of London for his kind permission to utilise Idling Action materials

We are committed to preventing unnecessary engine idling in the borough to help lower vehicle emissions, improve local air quality and protect public health.

Following a public consultation in 2019 which indicated support for further action, idling is now subject to enforcement action across Hounslow.

What is idling?

Idling is the act of leaving a vehicle's engine running while it is stationary.

Whilst this is often unavoidable for short periods of time, there are some instances, such as waiting for children outside of schools and in traffic jams, when idling is not necessary.

Why is idling bad?

It results in unnecessary use of fuel, an increase in emissions and can also create a noisy environment for residents, schools and businesses.

It's reported that an idling engine can produce up to 150 balloons of harmful exhaust emissions per minute, wastes half a gallon of fuel an hour and is a major contributor to the 9,000 premature deaths across London linked to air pollution (Air Quality News, 2019).

Anti-Idling in Hounslow

Regarding the anti-idling enforcement, we have powers to do this through fixed penalty notices, similar to littering enforcement.  We would encourage all drivers in the borough to switch off their engines when stopped or parked.

We don't want to give out anti-idling fines to residents unless it is a clear violation, for example if they were asked multiple times or refused an officer's request to stop idling. It's often difficult to prove, as physical evidence is more difficult to capture than littering or parking fines for example. Often idlers are sat in their car so we would always choose to ask them to stop idling before issuing a fine.

Going forward, we have two routes to tackle idling that we are currently progressing:

  1. We are currently putting together a policy statement to request approval from our Cabinet to conduct a trial period of anti-idling enforcement through fixed penalty notices. This will help us understand the cost-benefit of an enforcement policy, both in terms of finances and our resident's health and wellbeing, and whether it makes sense given our limited budgets or whether the money is best diverted to other council services.
  2. We are also developing and procuring anti-idling signage to be put at key locations around the borough (schools, hospitals etc.) which, while we can't enforce through financial penalties, will remind people to switch off their engines and generally raise awareness.
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