Sheffield drivers could soon face on-the-spot fines for leaving engines running in the street

Traffic in Sheffield
Traffic in Sheffield
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Sheffield drivers could soon face £20 on-the-spot fines for leaving their cars idling outside schools or on the street.

A number of councils across the country are cracking down on drivers leaving their motors running in a bid to cut down on pollution.

This refers to running a vehicle's engine when it's stationary on a road, including at a red light or outside a school.

Nottingham City Council became the latest to ask the Government to be able to fine people who refuse to turn their engine off when asked.

If approved, they would join councils in Norwich, Norwich, Wirral, Reading and the London boroughs of Camden and Southwark who have brought in similar measures.

According to The Time, more than 30 councils already use this power to cut down on emissions.

On a public road, it indeed is illegal to sit in your car whilst keeping the engine running within the UK.

The Highway Code states:‘You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road’.

"Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.

"However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.’

A fixed penalty notice under Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002 of £20 can be issued by Parking Enforcement Officer (Traffic Warden).

This can rise to £40 if it is not paid within the time specified on the penalty notice. Fixed penalty notices are dealt with via local councils.

Most councils have not opted to exercise their right to fine motorists for this until Westminster in Central London became the first to do so last year.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, told the Sun: “We welcome a focus on reducing unnecessary engine idling. The correct procedure should be for an enforcement officer to ask the driver to switch their engine off and if they refuse, they will be issued a penalty.

“Measures like this can play a big part in changing driver behaviour, by encouraging them to think about how they reduce their emissions footprint.”