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Idling engines

A local authority may enforce powers to deal with idling vehicles. If you idle your vehicle unnecessarily while stopped you could be given a £20 fixed penalty ticket.  South Gloucestershire Council at present has not implemented these powers.

The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 (SI 2002. No 1808) enable local authorities in England to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers who allow their vehicles to run unnecessarily while stationary on the road.

If an officer authorised under the above legislation discovers a vehicle with its engine running unnecessarily, the first action would be to advise the driver of the legal requirements and that such an offence carries a fixed penalty of £20. The officer would then request the driver to turn the engine off. A fixed penalty notice would only be issued if the driver refuses to turn off the engine when requested to do so.

Drivers will not be penalised in cases where common sense dictates that the engine needs to be running, such as;

  • where a vehicle is stationary at traffic lights or in a traffic jam
  • where a vehicle is broken down and the engine is being run to find a defect
  • where an engine is needed to refrigerate fresh goods or run a compactor on a refuse vehicle
  • any other situations that may be considered acceptable (e.g. defrosting a windscreen or cooling down on a hot day for a few minutes)
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