Smart Transport

Lambeth cracks down on harmful car idling

Smoking exhaust

Lambeth Council is introducing £20 fines for drivers who leave their engine running whilst stationary and will run a new awareness campaign as part of the ongoing battle to improve air quality in the London borough.

Drivers who allow their vehicle engines to run unnecessarily when parked in the borough will be asked to turn off their engines, and if they fail to cooperate, will be issued with a fine under the new policy adopted in May. The move builds on previous anti-idling events in the borough to raise awareness and educate drivers on the effects of idling.

Councillor Claire Holland, Lambeth’s Deputy Leader (Sustainable Transport, Environment & Clean Air), said: “Cleaning up toxic air is an absolute priority for this council.

“Poor air quality is a huge health risk to our residents, and engine idling is a major contributor. We are determined to tackle the issue and are confident these new measures will help encourage people to change their behaviour so that everyone in Lambeth – particularly young children due to the effects on their development – is able to breathe clean air.”

Waterloo, the South Bank, central Brixton, Clapham and the Vauxhall gyratory have been identified as idling hotspots. Outside schools, hospitals, taxi ranks and coach bays have also been flagged as key locations for drivers committing idling offences.

Between February 2018 and September 2019 wardens in Lambeth have advised 2,044 drivers to switch off their engine while stationary, of which 2,017 drivers complied with their advice and 27 people did not.

The fines build on previous measures to improve Lambeth’s air quality which include:

  • Supporting the shift to electric vehicles by installing over 200 new electric vehicle charging points, with 140 installed so far
  • The introduction of a clean bus corridor through Brixton and Streatham, ensuring all buses comply with strict pollution standards
  • Campaigning for the extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to cover the whole of Lambeth
  • Introducing ‘school streets’ – timed closures of roads around schools at pick-up and drop-off times which will improve child safety and reduce traffic emissions


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