CamdenNewJournal

The independent London newspaper

A £20 fine for drivers who deliberately idle engines is derisory

07 December, 2017

• AIR quality means a great deal to me, my constituents in Hampstead, and residents across Camden.

That’s why I was disappointed to see that Camden Council is settling for issuing drivers fines of just £20 for deliberately idling their engines.

I spoke in favour of introducing fines in the council chamber, but at £20, the fine is derisory. This is, remember, solely for drivers that wilfully refuse to switch off their engines after being asked to do so by wardens – not accidentally or unknowingly.

Camden’s cabinet member claimed that £20 was the maximum able to be issued, but this isn’t true.

Westminster City Council issues £80 fines under a belt-and-braces approach: applying both the £20 fixed-penalty notices that Camden is introducing and giving itself the further power to issue £80 PCN penalty charge notices in pollution hot-spots.

The latter, introduced in June, gives Westminster the ability to issue meaningful fines to problem drivers.

The £80 fines also streamline enforcement by being issued via the same process that parking tickets are issued and by being appealed to the less costly London tribunals instead of clogging up the magistrates’ courts.

Sadly the £20 fine is a typical half-measure on air quality from Camden.

I have also been pushing for Camden to install hundreds of charging points for electric cars, like other boroughs, but they are settling for just 33 instead.

Camden should go much further in assisting green drivers and penalising those that don’t play by the rules. Targeted use of a larger fine could make a big difference to tackling pollution in Camden.

CLLR OLIVER COOPER
Conservative,
Hampstead Town ward

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