The announcement that motorists could be fined for leaving their engines running while stationary in traffic in London has annoyed many getwestlondon readers.

Westminster City Council said it will issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) to motorists who ignore calls to switch off their engines as it continues its battle to improve air quality in the borough.

It says as well as polluting the air, engine idling can also create a noisy environment, particularly affecting residents and local businesses.

Barley a comment was left on the getwestlondon Facebook page which agreed with the council or were sympathetic to their views, with nearly everyone opposed and angered by the plans, which come into force on February 4.

Paul Wallace seemed to capture the general vibe when he wrote: “I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my life the government in this country have lost the plot.”

While Jax Porter said the measure will hold up traffic further, claiming possible fatal consequences.

She wrote: “So ur (sic) sitting at traffic lights waiting for them to change and ugotta (sic) hold up traffic even further by switching on and off ur (sic) engine delaying more people , would delay emergency services as they have to wait for ur (sic) car to start again for u to move just a little so they can save lives.”

As part of Westminster’s pro-active approach, council “air marshals” have been speaking to drivers about how engine idling harms the environment, while its regular no idling action days have seen more than 50 locals trained to become “Air Quality Champions”, who have gone on to speak to more than 600 drivers in air pollution hot spots.

While most drivers heed the message from the champions, those who ignore calls to cut their car engines when they are not moving may be served a FPN.

London is currently under a heavy air pollution alert

Many new cars have stop-start features which will make the process of switching off engines while in traffic easier.

James Draper foresees problems, even though he backs the plan: “Although it’s kinda a good idea if you have a new car, it’s a pain to turn mine off and on again."

Callum Atwell feared cars would not be up to it.

He said: “Even some new cheap cars would struggle. The battery wouldn’t be able to keep up." Paul Hughes wrote: “Anything to target the motorists.”


Westminster Council member for sustainability and parking, Heather Acton, has praised the proactive approach, saying: “Our residents and visitors are concerned about pollution.

“Improving air quality is high on the agenda for Westminster City Council.

We need to tackle these harmful effects on our health , while also understanding the needs of those who move around central London.”

But Shagufta Lam Minai said she would like to see another motoring misdemeanour targeted instead.

“Shame the cameras fail to catch-n-fine (sic) all those drivers that use their mobile phones, whilst driving,” she said.

Finally, Jay Boswell fears for the future. He ominously warns: “Soon we will be charged for breathing!”

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