More and more councils across the UK are threatening to hit drivers with fines if they leave their engines running while parked.

It is estimated that around 30 local authorities in total now have rules in place to target idling drivers, with most handing out on-the-spot fines particularly around sensitive areas like schools and hospitals. Nottingham City Council has become the latest local authority to announce plans to hit drivers with £20 fines if they’re caught repeatedly leaving their engines idling. The announcement by Nottingham City Council follows similar moves by authorities in Norwich, Reading and London, which each began issuing penalties at the start of 2018.

There are now calls from health experts including Public Health England and the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, to introduce ‘no idling zones’ outside schools, hospitals and care homes to protect vulnerable individuals.

Emissions produced by vehicles contribute to the premature death of up to 40,000 people every year.

According to Rule 123 of The Highway Code: ‘You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.’

Despite this, many drivers are still idle engine offenders during the school run and are unaware of its dangers.

Considering an average idling speed of 800 rpm in a 2 litre, 4 cylinder engine, the average car will produce 800 litres or 0.8 cubic metres of exhaust fumes per minute of idling.

As such, idling for 10 minutes on every school day equates to 1,520m³ of excess fumes a year, which is enough to fill two Jumbo Jets.

Even idling for just five minutes per school day will be total to 760m³ of exhaust fumes per year, equivalent to over 23 shipping containers.

Those drivers who idle for 20 minutes or more every day will produce an additional 3,040m³ of emissions (overfilling an Olympic-sized swimming pool) – and that’s not including any idling at weekends or holidays.

Just switching off your engine while waiting for someone will dramatically improve the air quality in the country and reduce the negative health effects it has on people.