4 July 2017

People who leave their car engines running whilst waiting at the school gates could face “idling” fines – as Sheffield City Council launches a new consultation to tackle poor air quality across the city.

This consultation asks for views on whether the Council should enforce new by-laws as recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) for “no vehicle idling”, especially outside Sheffield schools.

The consultation asks whether the Council should introduce a scheme to enforce drivers that leave their engines running outside schools and whether this should include “on the spot” fines. It also asks whether other vehicles and locations should be included, including buses and taxis, for example, at Sheffield station.

The consultation has been launched after new guidance from Public Health England and NICE set out a wide range of measures to cut air pollution, which is at illegal levels in almost 90 per cent of urban areas.

In particular, they have called for “no idling” zones to be introduced outside schools, care homes and hospitals. Westminster City Council has already introduced £80 fines for drivers caught with their engines running.

Sheffield City Council’s AirAware campaign has been saying for some time ‘Switch off when you drop off’ to parents if they take their children to school by car and has given head teachers the opportunity to have a free banner outside their school to really push that message.

The Council has recently published its own sustainability vision to tackle air quality across the city.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport at Sheffield City Council said:

“Polluted air is a major public health hazard in many parts of the country, particularly affecting the very young and very old in our city. As the High Court has said, the UK government has not taken anything like enough action in this area and is putting lives at risk.

“Even so, there are some actions which we can look to take now. There’s no reason for drivers to leave engines idling at any time, but especially near schools, care homes and hospitals.

“So we’re going to consult with schools, drivers and Sheffield residents about introducing measures that can improve air quality outside areas where it’s most needed. I hope as many people as possible get involved with this and have their say.

“Sheffield City Council will continue to push the Government to take real national action on poor air quality.”

Becky Webb, Headteacher at Tinsley Meadows, said:

“We’ve made great progress at Tinsley Meadows, but air quality remains a major issue for many schools in the country and idling cars are a big part of the problem.

“It’s good to see Sheffield Council looking to take action in this area. I hope lots of parents and schools across the city let their views be known.”

A full online consultation questionnaire will be available from 5 July at: sheffield.citizenspace.com/place-business-strategy/no-vehicle-idling