No fines yet issued to drivers idling outside Sheffield schools
No drivers have yet been fined for leaving their engines running while parked outside schools in Sheffield, despite a heavily publicised crackdown.
Sheffield Council last year introduced no-idling zones outside schools in an attempt to reduce the high levels of air pollution damaging children’s health.
The ban was first imposed outside 21 schools in areas with the worst air quality in September, with with motorists warned they faced a £20 fixed penalty notice if caught flouting the restriction.
The council said at the time that it would be rolled out at schools across the city, with signs ordering waiting motorists to cut their engines going up in phases between then and January this year.
A Freedom of Information request by The Star has revealed not one driver was fined for idling outside schools between the beginning of November 2018 and the end of January this year, despite the council’s parking services team visiting 113 schools during this period.
The council did not reveal whether any warnings had been issued to motorists caught with their engines running.
One councillor said officers were still focusing on education rather than enforcement at this stage, with drivers caught being given advice or warnings, and fines only issued to motorists failing to follow those instructions.
Sheffield Council’s website states: “A simple way to contribute to the quality of our air is by turning off your engine whist waiting stationary in your car.
“We are encouraging parents to do this when waiting outside their child’s school. By turning off your engine you will help keep the air cleaner and your child’s lungs healthy. You will also save on fuel!
“In some areas fines may be issued where a person is found idling for a period of time (after being advised by an authorised officer to turn their engine off). Signs will be displayed to mark the zones.”
Councillor Kaltum Rivers, Green Party member for Broomhill & Sharrow Vale, said: “At this stage of implementation of the anti-idling initiative there is still an element of raising awareness of the issue with drivers, who are often busy parents on the school run, and as such enforcement officers are currently giving verbal instructions and warnings to those found to be idling around schools with a view to applying fines where instructions are not being followed.
“Information packs are freely available to local schools, provided by the council, and I encourage all schools to obtain these materials, engage with their pupils and distribute the information to parents to encourage the behaviour to stop and help to improve air quality around schools.”
The cost of erecting signs outside the first 21 schools was estimated by the council ahead of their installation to be £8,500.
The Star has contacted Sheffield Council and is awaiting a response.