Published: 16:50, 24 May 2022
| Updated: 18:39, 24 May 2022
Drivers face being fined if they leave their vehicles running while waiting in traffic.
Canterbury City Council is clamping down on engine idling in a bid to cut air pollution across the district.
From this week, enforcement officers are able to issue £20 penalties to drivers of cars, taxis, buses and commercial vehicles who keep their engines running while stationary after being asked to switch them off.
Officers will initially focus on hotspots such as outside schools, popular shops and areas across Canterbury, Whitstable and Herne Bay where parked vehicles are known to leave their engines running for long periods of time.
The council will also try and persuade people to voluntarily turn off their engines at level crossings and railway stations and educate them on the benefits.
Cabinet member for enforcement, Cllr Ashley Clark, said: “Leaving your engine running creates pollution that irritates people’s lungs, lowers resistance to infection and makes conditions like asthma, heart and lung disease worse.
"Children, elderly people and those that are already poorly are at much greater risk.
“Research shows that an idling vehicle can emit up to 20 times more of some pollutants than travelling at 32mph.
“Every time a car idles for just one minute, it produces enough exhaust emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful chemicals like cyanide, nitrogen oxides and microscopic pollutants that can cause lung cancer and emphysema and are especially damaging to children.
“We don’t want to issue FPNs (fixed penalty notices), it will be a last resort, but we do want to educate drivers and persuade them to change their behaviour."
The Canterbury district is not the only part of the county to see fines used to encourage drivers to switch-off their engines.
In March, Medway Council revealed it had been awarded government money to target idlers in Rainham.
Its deputy leader, Cllr Howard Doe, said at the time: “It is vital that we continue to raise awareness of the small things everyone can do, like switching off your car engine if you’re not moving, which will make a real improvement to air quality and climate change."