UK Diesel Drivers Targeted Again!
Following our report last week about the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and his plans for the introduction of an extra £10 charge for diesel cars to enter central London, drivers of diesel vehicles are now facing further penalties if they sit in their stationary vehicle with the engine running.
Councils have had the power to penalise drivers with £20 spot fines for idling under the Road Traffic Regulations 2002, this fine increases to £40 if the original penalty is not paid, but Islington council in London is the first council in England to actually begin to enforce the rule. Statistical figures have revealed that over two hundred deaths a year in Islington are caused by poor air quality. Executive Member for Environment of Islington Council, Councillor Claudia Webbe, said that as part of the air quality strategy of Islington Council “We are committed to improving air quality in Islington which is why we are clamping down on idling buses, lorries and diesel cars.” Councillor Webbe added ‘We are taking action to tackle the problem of air pollution in Islington but we need Boris Johnson to do his share: by introducing a low-polluting bus fleet, and addressing the high number of polluting lorries that travel through our streets on a daily basis affecting residents’ health.’ The fine will be given to drivers who refuse to switch off the engine of a stationary vehicle when requested to do so, it will include motorists who leave their engines idling unnecessarily and taxis and buses sitting with their engines running at taxi stands and bus stops. It will not include any vehicle stuck in traffic or at traffic lights.
This step is almost certainly to be taken by other councils across London as it is known that the Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, representing the 32 London boroughs, wrote to the Environment Secretary in 2013 to request greater action against pollution and for improving the quality of air in London. It was even suggested that spot fines should be greatly increased, with figures as high as £130 put forward as a possibility. Not everyone, however, feels the same way about diesel cars, the Communities Minister, Brandon Lewis, has described the actions of Islington Council as taxing drivers by stealth and is concerned that it will only deter shoppers from using their local high street. Mr Lewis said “This is systematic of a clipboard-wielding culture in many town halls where every response to a policy challenge involves a new tax or a fine on local residents,”