Council to introduce fines for engine idlers

Local primary school pupils take part in anti-idling publicity event in Brixton's Windrush Square
Local primary school pupils take part in an anti-idling publicity event in Brixton’s Windrush Square

Lambeth council is to introduce on-the-spot £20 fines for engine idling. Many of the idling “hotspots” it has identified in the borough are in Brixton.

In a series of reports it says that, while idling is an offence, “there is policy and regulatory vacuum to enforce the law within Lambeth”. The council says action is “imperative” to improve air quality in the borough.

A formal decision on the move is due to be taken by council officers on 18 May.

At present, Lambeth civil enforcement officers (CEOs) employed by a contractor, APCOA, enforce parking offences.

The council says its CEOs have been advising drivers to switch off their engines while stationary for a few years, but have been unable to issue a penalty charge notice (PCN) or fixed penalty charge notice (FPN) to drivers who did not comply.

Lambeth CEOs record “interactions” with idling vehicles. Bbetween February 2018 and September 2019, they advised 2,044 drivers to switch off their engine while stationary, of these 27 (1.32%) did not comply.

The fixed penalty for idling vehicles is £20 if it is paid within 28 days, after which it increases to £40.

There are no extra costs to the council to enforce FPNs for idling. However, it will link enforcement with a campaign to promote anti-idling costing £22,240.

Diesel exhaustThe reports detail the extent and effect on people of deadly emissions from vehicles in the borough.

They also list idling hotspots, including in Brixton: Acre Lane, Barrington Road, Brighton Terrace, Brixton Station Road, Canterbury Crescent, Coldharbour Lane, Mayall Road, Rattray Road, Rushcroft Road, Somerleyton Road, St John’s Crescent, Vining Street and Wiltshire Road.

The council says that the FPN process is “tried and tested”, and will follow the same format as other FPNs currently issued for offences like littering.

There is no formal appeal process, although the council says its officers will investigate claims of mistakes. Drivers can challenge an FPN in court.

Government guidance is that an enforcement officer should ask a driver to switch off their engine as a first measure and only issue an FPN is they do not comply. The council says it will follow this guidance.