The majority of drivers want to see councils take firm action against motorists who leave their engines running while parked, a new survey suggests.
Councils have the power to hand a £20 fine to drivers who idle their vehicles – however, according to the RAC, only a few choose to enforce this.
In June, the Government set its sights on toughening up rules on vehicle idling, with plans for heavier fines for drivers who commit the offence.
At the time, the DfT said the issue is a major factor in poor air quality, particularly in areas where there are large numbers of stationary vehicles.
A new survey, carried out by the RAC, suggests 44% of drivers want to see those who idle fined – if they refuse to switch off their engines when approached by officials.
More than a quarter (26%) of respondents say motorists who idle their engines should just receive a caution – whereas 2% think offenders should be fined without any warning.
The RAC says the problem of engine idling is widespread, with 88% of respondents saying they see drivers parked at the side of a road or street with their engines still running.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “It is clear from our research that the vast majority of drivers are far more aware of the impact of vehicle emissions than they were three years ago.
“They are conscious of pollution from parked vehicles running their engines needlessly to the point they want to see local councils taking some form of action against those who do this.
“Councils already have the powers to deal with this problem, but few are currently doing so. Many of the drivers we questioned would like to see some firm action taken against offenders. This is no doubt needed to bring about a change in behaviour.
“You could liken the current situation with engine idling to that of taking your own carrier bags to the supermarket: everyone knew it was the right thing to do, but few of us did it until a compulsory charge was introduced. While the law is already in place for idling, enforcement is limited, if not non-existent.
“The presence of enforcement officers and ‘no engine idling’ signs, complete with penalties, must be the next step in making our urban environments better for everyone who lives, drives and works in them.”