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Ealing Lib Dems raise concerns over Ealing Council’s enforcement of vehicle “idling” fines and letting residents know about it

Ealing Liberal Democrats have raised concerns that Labour-run Ealing Council has not implemented or informed residents fully about its plans to enforce £80 fines for idling vehicles across the borough including those outside schools.

In September 2023, Ealing Council announced that from 2 October 2023 it would be introducing £80 fines to drivers which are idling on the road but none have been issued.

The council said at the time that drivers will be fined £80, the maximum allowed by law, if they are running a vehicle engine while not in motion.

Signage letting drivers know of the rules and the danger idling causes to the environment has appeared across the borough and the council says that by switching off, drivers are also saving money.

In a statement, the council said: “It is also cheaper to switch off your engine – idling can cost up to 3p per minute in fuel. If a vehicle idled for 10 minutes per day, within 6 months that would have cost more than £58. Stopping and then restarting your engine creates less pollution than idling for a minute.”

Despite the introduction of idling fines, the Lib Dems says no fines have been given to drivers and it has been asking questions to the council on what actions they have taken to specifically stop idling around schools in the borough including Ada Lovelace, Ellen Wilkinson and the Grange.

Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats said: “These idling fines will hit hard pressed residents in their pockets, a double whammy as Ealing Labour are likely to be raising council tax in the coming months, despite receiving extra funds from central government. We are concerned that Ealing Council have not made residents aware of the upcoming changes and we are side by side with residents in these difficult times.”

Councillor Peter Mason, leader of Ealing Council said in September 2023: “Leaving car engines running unnecessarily pollutes the air we all breathe, adds to the climate crisis and causes asthma and other lung and heart conditions in both children and adults. Air pollution in our borough is avoidable and all it takes is switching off your engine when your car isn’t moving whenever you can. It makes a huge difference to the air quality.”

Councillor Deirdre Costigan, deputy leader and cabinet member for climate action added: “We are ramping up fines for unnecessary idling to the maximum, and introducing anti-idling enforcement from next month across all of Ealing’s seven towns. We will continue working with residents, businesses and schools to raise awareness of the health and climate impacts of leaving vehicle engines running, so we can all enjoy cleaner air, longer life and a more sustainable planet.”

Councillor Gary Malcolm, leader of Ealing Liberal Democrats told EALING.NEWS in September 2023: “Air pollution is bad in many areas and can be improved. I spoke at a Council Cabinet meeting two months ago on this. I said that the Council should be wary about fining people if it has not informed and educated people on this topic or else lots of residents will think it is a Labour cash cow. I suggested about 10 areas where there are idling issues I know of and awaiting better signage.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Neil Reynolds, chair of Ealing Green Party commented at the time: “This is a welcome idea, however it will make little practical difference if is not enforced effectively. The council should carefully consider how this will be enforced to avoid it becoming yet another gimmicky photo opportunity.”

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