Mayor for London asks for help to lobby government to change idling law

On page 8 of today’s Time Out magazine, you’ll find ‘Oi Sadiq’ – with a little taste of my interview with the Mayor of London. Read more below and please sign our petition:


David:  Drivers idle vehicles outside nurseries, schools, GP surgeries, hospitals, playgrounds etc, every day, for as long as they like.

Sadiq:  TfL hasn’t got the powers to force cars to stop idling, what we can do is encourage councils to change local orders so there’s higher fines, a lot of the fines are £20 and officers have to stay for 2 minutes and firstly warn a driver to turn their car off then after two minutes give them a £20 fine, it’s not a deterrent. Councils can give higher fines and have more effective enforcement and so we’re working with councils through the Mayors Air Quality Fund to give them finances to be able to do that and there should be an announcement imminently.

David:  You can idle outside a school for as long as you want and only if an authorised person asks you to stop and you refuse to do so will you get issued with a fine but you could do that every single day, you could idle five days a week and as long as you always turn off when they ask you will never get fined. If we are to have an effective idling policy then it has to be one where you take the vehicle registration (I know there’s issues around data protection), you send the vehicle owner information on air pollution and climate change and a warning and if their vehicle is caught idling again they receive a substantial fine whether it’s £80, £100, and every single time they get caught idling after that they get a fine. One warning, then a fine. that’s fair for our children, for their futures and for their lungs. At the moment the policy of raising awareness of drivers and asking them to switch of and they always do is just..

Sadiq:  You’re making my point for me, to lobby the government to change the law aren’t you?

David:  Right, I’ve got a petition on that, please do sign

Sadiq:  Do you support giving money to councilors through the Mayors Air Quality Fund to have higher fines and better enforcement?

David:  Unfortunately it’s not actually going to be effective until we change the law

Sadiq:  So you don’t think higher fines will be effective?

David:  higher fines doesn’t make any difference

Sadiq:  £160 vs £20?

David:  No one pays Sadiq, no one pays, because everyone turns their engine off, that’s the problem. “I’m idling, oh no, there you go, I’ll turn it off”. In Wandsworth, no fines, in Camden, no fines..

Sadiq:  You’re making my point for me, we need legislation to change

David:  Could you say to them, take the risk, take drivers information, if they idle again give them a fine and take it in front of a judge and say ‘does the law allow us to do this?’

Sadiq:  It doesn’t, the law says you’ve got to give somebody notice, if after two minutes they are still idling their car it’s possible to issue a £20 fine, that isn’t a deterrent

David:  And if you see them idling the next day, can you issue a fine or do you have to go and ask them again

Sadiq:  You’ve got to go and ask them again

David:  And that’s where the problem is

Sadiq:  Exactly, so help me lobby the government

David:  Help me, sign the petition:

Five months later and Sadiq has still not signed the petition or shared the petition with his 1.1 million followers. Apparently, when Sadiq said “help me lobby the government” he didn’t mean it literally…  I guess we’re on our own. It’s up to us to protect babies, young children and pregnant mums exposed to carcinogenic vehicle exhaust every day outside the school gates because no one with authority will fight for them to change the law and say #NO2idling.


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