Lambeth Council finally agrees to introduce fines for engine idling

22 February 2019

Lambeth Council has confirmed it will start fining drivers who leave their engines running when parked - four years after first promising to “clamp down” on engine idling.


It follows sustained pressure from Green councillors and campaigners urging action to address the borough’s record-breaking air pollution.


In 2015 Lambeth council promised to clamp down on engine idling. [1]  However, the Green Party then discovered that no fines had been issued.[2]


Since then Lambeth has resisted calls to use the powers available to them to issue penalties for engine idling, instead taking an “awareness raising” approach to teach drivers about the dangers of air pollution.   


Green councillors however asked officers to cost proposals for introduction of a scheme, and included proposals for it in their alternative budget, which advocated the biggest investment in tackling air pollution and climate change that the borough would have ever seen.


At the January 2019 meeting of Overview and Scrutiny Committee, in response to a question from Green Group leader Cllr Jonathan Bartley, it was stated that the Council would now allow Enforcement Officers to issue fixed penalty notices to drivers who refuse to switch off their engines when asked.When pressed on the timescale, officers said that this would happen in the next 12 months.[3]


The commitment has been welcomed by Green councillors who have supported local campaign groups’ calls for Lambeth to crack down on engine idling.


Councillor Nicole Griffiths (St Leonard’s) said:


“It should not have taken so long but it’s good to see that Lambeth have finally listened to groups like Mums for Lungs who have been warning us of the dangers of air pollution for a while now. We must be taking drastic and immediate action to clean up Lambeth’s air and fines for engine idling is one way to do this. I hope that this news is a sign that Lambeth will now lead by example in tackling the climate emergency that was declared by Full Council last month.”


Air pollution levels in Lambeth have been notoriously high with the Brixton Road air pollution monitor breaching annual air pollution limits within the first month of 2018. [4]


Councillor Pete Elliott (Gipsy Hill) commented:


“This commitment to introduce engine idling fines is one step in the right direction for Lambeth in tackling air pollution but they still have a long way to go. The Brixton Road air pollution monitor which has previously measured record breaking pollution levels has been out of action for almost 6 months now and the council have failed to install any interim measure, meaning we have no continuity of data or information showing just how high pollution levels are. Air pollution is prematurely killing Londoners, it is affecting all of us and needs addressing now.”





[3]  The question was asked at 90 mins 30 secs and the answer from officers is given at 94 mins 45 secs.



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