Westminster patrolled by ‘Air Marshals’ as part of air pollution clampdown in city centre


Westminster ‘Air Marshals’ patrolling the area can now hand out £80 fines to motorists caught idling in their vehicle when they park up on the side of the road.

Central London borough has introduced the #DontBeIdle campaign, targeted at taxi and delivery drivers, plus members of the public who drive into the centre but fail to switch off their engines once they’ve pulled up.

Westminster patrolled by 'Air Marshals' as part of pollution clampdown in city centre

Drivers in London caught ‘idling’ in car could face an £80 fine © Copyright Mike Quinn and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


According to the council, the air marshals will have the powers to ask motorists who aren’t in traffic but have pulled up to switch their engine off – if the driver refuses to turn off their engine the air marshal can issue an £80 Penalty Charge Notice.

Back in April, Westminster council was the first to launch a pay & display parking fee for drivers of diesel vehicles entering the capital’s centre. Owners of pre-2015 diesel vehicles are having to fork out 50% more just to park in F Zone parts of Westminster borough as part of the 12 month trial.

The announcement of the new £80 ‘idling’ fine came about this week at an event held at St Edward’s Primary School, in Marylebone.

The campaign is hoping to raise awareness concerning the poor quality of air in the city.

The penalty handed out to drivers used to be £20 but desperate to improve the air pollution levels in the capital, the council have increased the penalty for sitting in a parked vehicle with the engine still running to £80.

Westminster City Council believe that one car sat ‘idling’ produces enough dangerous and harmful exhaust emissions each minute to fill up 150 balloons.

Over 100 ‘air marshals’ have been employed by Westminster and Islington council to walk the streets looking for drivers who fail to turn off their engines whilst parked up. A £96 per year diesel fee was also introduced in Islington back in 2015.

According to Westminster City Council “vehicles such as buses, taxis, vans, cars and delivery vehicles account for over half of the most deadly emissions in the air.”

The #DontBeIdle campaign has been backed by the British actor Nigel Havers and as well as fines being handed out to motorists caught ‘idling’, drivers will also be asked to sign an online pledge to switch off their engines when parked up – doing so will help to reduce heart disease, lung cancer and asthma.


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