Verdant Lane, Catford
Air pollution kills 9,000 Londoners every year, according to research

Drivers who leave their vehicles idling for more than three minutes in the borough of Lewisham are to be stung with a £60 fine, a move which councillors hope will improve air quality.

Lewisham Council’s cabinet gave the green light to the new fine at a meeting last week, which will be enforced by December and cover all roads in the borough. Similar schemes have already been introduced in other boroughs, including Southwark, Lambeth and Westminster.

The cabinet member for safer communities, Joani Reid, said idling has a “devastating impact” on the health of vulnerable people, including older people and children.

“It’s a completely unnecessary activity which does not benefit the driver,” she said. “The delegated powers for enforcement of idling vehicles will further strengthen the council’s commitment to tackling air pollution.”

Enforcement officers will be able to issue penalty charges while on patrol for any car stopped in the street with its engine running. Motorists sat in parked vehicles leaving their engines running will be asked to switch their engines off. If they do not do so within three minutes, they will face a fine.

Councillors expect to start issuing the fines from December, once enforcement officers have been trained.

Lewisham’s elected mayor, Damien Egan, said the new fine was “very welcome”.

He said: “Councillors have been out doing their own enforcement and talking to people very nicely not to idle. The concern is when the volunteers go away, what happens?”

The income from the new fine is not expected to be “substantial,” a council report said.

During the summer, Lewisham held a consultation on charging drivers of more polluting vehicles more to park in the borough.

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Bridie Witton is the Local Democracy Reporter for Lewisham. The Local Democracy Reporter Service is a BBC-funded initiative to ensure councils are covered properly in local media.
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