Pollution clampdown: New guidance includes fines for 'idle' engines and old cars

Parents who leave their engines running outside schools and motorists with high-pollution vehicles could be fined under new recommendations put forward by health watchdogs.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England issued the guidance to councils in a bid to reduce air pollution in England.

They suggest introducing "no-idling" and "clean air" zones where penalties would apply, especially in areas outside schools, hospitals and care homes.

Around 25,000 people die every year as a result of longterm exposure to air pollution, according to PHE, with under-14s and over-65s, as well as those with respiratory or heart conditions, more susceptible to the effects.

Here are some of the key recommendations:

For motorists

  • "No idling" near schools, hospitals, care homes and in high-pollution zones

  • Restrictions or fines for high-polluting vehicles

  • Congestion charges in new "clean air zones"

  • Removing speed bumps for smoother driving

Around 25,000 people die every year as a result of longterm exposure to air pollution, public health officials say

For councils

  • Installing charge points for electric vehicles

  • No building schools, nurseries and care homes in high-pollution zones

  • Building homes further away from roadsides

  • Planting more trees and vegetation to improve air quality

  • Promoting car sharing schemes or clubs

Westminster City Council has already introduced no-idling zones and fines parents £80 charges for leaving their engines running.

However, dozens of local councils have failed to report on air pollution for years, an investigation by environmental website DeSmog UK revealed in May.

In a series of Freedom of Information requests, it discovered that 59 out of 77 councils had failed to produce air pollution reports, as required by law under the 1995 Environment Act.