Fines could be imposed on reckless motorists who leave their engines running when parked in central Bedfordshire, affecting air quality.
Local authorities can acquire additional legal powers, allowing them to issue flat-rate fines to drivers who let their vehicles idle and refuse to cut.
“Engine idling is currently not enforced by the Central Bedfordshire Council,” according to a report to both its executive committee and its general committee.
“This will improve on the work already done to improve air quality and support the council’s sustainability plan,” the report said.
Issuing a fixed penalty notice would be a last resort for civilian authorities and safer neighborhood officers, he added.
Arlesey Conservative adviser Ian Dalgarno told the executive: “This problem can have a negative impact on air quality and the resulting effect on public health.
“This council is committed to helping people make the right choices and become greener,” he said.
“We have put £ 5,000 in the budget which will go to signage in areas where we know there are cases, such as outside of schools.”
At the CBC General Goals Committee, Independent Potton advisor Adam Zerny asked, “While this is a laudable goal, are we potentially opening up something that will lead to expectations of the CBC? public that we will not answer?
“The board will get many examples of an engine idling where officers are unable to do something.
“Most of the examples are when people come in to run errands and someone in the car is listening to music, or in the summer the air conditioning does not work if the engine is not on.
“I’m not suggesting that we should ignore it. Clearly something is in place and we need to support national legislation.”
Public Protection Chief Jo Borthwick replied: “I agree that it will be necessary to manage public expectations as to what this might lead to the issuance of fixed penalty notices.
“Effort should be devoted to communicating the need to turn off the engines, improving driving behavior and raising awareness of the problem.
“There are quite old but useful guidelines that accompany the legislation, which explain how we should apply it.
“By adopting this, we have the opportunity to do so formally, although the sanctions available are limited.
“I hope most drivers are already with us on this matter. Only the very few who choose to ignore us will end up with a fine.”
Leighton Buzzard South Conservative Councilor Amanda Dodwell explained, “I have received a lot of complaints from residents about this issue.
“Some have tried to tackle it themselves, so it’s good to see the council take action.
“When we’re doing patrols with the engine idling, the much bigger problem is sidewalk parking and obstacles near schools. I’d like you to tackle both.”
Cranfield and Marston Moretaine Conservative adviser Ken Matthews said: “I don’t think this is going to be a serious problem. It is important that the publicity indicates what could happen if people do not comply.”
Linslade’s Tory adviser Gordon Perham suggested: “We need a lot of signage around schools and where people typically do it.”
The General Objectives Committee agreed to recommend to the full council an amendment to the delegation scheme in the constitution to allow enforcement action, in accordance with the directives of the Ministry of Transport.