Westminster City Council has called for the UK government to authorise local authorities to fine drivers that leave their engines idling.
These appeals from Westminster come during a period where the government weighs up proposals to give local councils more control to reduce pollution.
At present, all local authorities must give an initial warning and drivers must be stationary for over one minute with their engine still running.
The current fine stands at £20 to £80, which is largely dependent on the leniency each local council chooses to use.
The proposals made would approve local councils to execute on-the-spot “four-figure fines” for drivers, without the requirement for an initial warning.
Nickie Aiken, leader of Westminster City Council said: “Fines are our last resort but when we establish a pattern of persistent idling, we need to be able to send a message.”
Mrs Aiken also stated that company vehicle drivers caught idling should face a “four-figure sum to be a sufficient deterrent”.
Westminster City Council last year issued just 20 penalty fines for “persistent idling”, while Camden Council, warned 400 drivers, but did not issue any fines. Camden Council is also in favour of being handed the power to issue instant fines.
Overall, 18 local councils across London have cited “idling action events”. Islington Council have reported that four-fifths (80%) of drivers requested turned off their engines in a co-operative manner.
A Department for Transport spokesman said:
“We are determined to reduce the damaging environmental impacts of drivers who keep their engines running while stationary, especially those in school zones.
“This is why we are making guidance for local authorities clearer, so that they know how and when to target drivers falling foul of the law.
“We will also be polling local authorities to understand how any potential review of these powers may look in future.”