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Change law to clamp down on vehicle idling

Haringey Council is to back a bill that would increase the fines for leaving vehicles idling and make it easier to levy fines, thanks to an intervention from a local Liberal Democrat councillor.

At a Full Council meeting on July 15th, Cllr Scott Emery (Muswell Hill – LD) called on Haringey Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment, Cllr Kirsten Hearn (Stroud Green – Lab), to write a joint letter to the Secretary of State for the Environment supporting the Vehicles Emissions (Idling Penalties) Bill. This is a private members bill put forward by the Hon Wera Hobhouse, who is MP for Bath and Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the Environment and Climate Change, to “increase penalties for stationary vehicle idling offences; to grant local authorities increased powers to issue such penalties.”

The joint letter from Cllrs Emery and Hearn warns the Government that:

“Road transport represents the dominant source of air pollution in Haringey, making up more than 50 per cent of both NOx and PM emissions. And an idling engine can produce up to twice as many exhaust emissions as an engine in motion, demonstrating that an idling engine contributes significantly to poor air quality.”

And that:

“Current road traffic legislation gives [Haringey Council] the right to issue fixed penalty notices of £20 to idling vehicles. However, the complexities of this legislation render it difficult to enforce, inhibiting our capacity to positively impact our local environment.

“The Vehicle Emissions (Idling Penalties) Bill, proposed by the Hon. Wera Hobhouse, will give us the increased powers we need to issue on the spot fines to drivers of idling vehicles and increase the penalties for drivers who repeatedly offend.”

Cllr Emery further comments:

“The people worst affected by air pollution are children. So, for me, there’s no question that we have a moral responsibility to act.

“Locally, the Council needs to be doing more. For a start, they should roll out School Streets to every school in the borough. However, national government also needs to be more proactive and take steps like passing Wera Hobhouse’s bill.”

Whilst presenting her bill to Parliament, Ms Hobhouse said that:

“The legislation that I have tabled is a crucial step in tackling our air pollution crisis. It will allow local authorities to clamp down on idling without the need to apply to the Government first, and it will enable them to increase fines on repeat offenders.

“I’ve done the first step for them, all the Conservative Government needs to do is back my bill and we can put an end to idling as soon as possible. It is time the Tories did much more to tackle both the climate emergency and the air pollution crisis.”

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