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Luton Borough Council

10/03/2022 - Council to tackle engine idling as part of aims to improve air quality

​ At last night’s Executive (7 March) councillors agreed to introduce powers to prevent engine idling with an aim to improve air quality in Luton.

The adoption of these powers would allow for the council to monitor and issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) for £20 where a motorist fails to switch off their engine when stationary which increases to £40 if not paid or challenged within 28 days.

The council has declared three Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in Luton due to excesses in the annual mean air quality objective level for nitrogen dioxide. As part of the town centre AQMA the aim is to raise awareness of vehicle idling with an emphasis on licensed vehicles and buses. The Airport Air Quality Impact Task and Finish Group also calls for work to be undertaken with local schools to address the issue of engine idling.

The fines would be issued as a last resort and only where drivers do not voluntarily switch off their engine and would not be enforced in instances such as when a vehicle is stationary due to traffic, where running in order to trace a vehicle defect or on a cold day at a taxi rank. They would also not be issued if the driver is elderly and running the engine to keep warm, or to help defrost a windscreen in very cold weather.

Cllr Rob Roche portfolio holder responsible for Sustainable Development and Highways said, “It’s vital that we do all we can to ensure the air we breathe in Luton is clean and introducing these powers is an important step. This fits in with the wider approach to climate change and is a way everybody can contribute positively – by turning their engine off whenever possible.

“But we will take a common sense approach to enforcement and it’s hoped that engagement, awareness and education will help prevent drivers who tend to leave their engines running from doing so. However, I am pleased that councillors have agreed that we can undertake monitoring and enforcement if they don’t switch off”.

Engagement and an awareness raising campaign will now begin to understand local residents thoughts on these powers.
© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ