Parking and Engines off!
It has come to our attention on numerous occasions that parents are arriving early to obtain parking spaces outside our school.
I am very aware that parking is an issue, but our concern is that engines are left running. We are working hard as a school to ensure your children have regular exercise throughout the school day, with active lunchtimes, regular sessions of Physical Education and also taking part in the Daily Mile.
Therefore I urge you to read the guidance and advice below from the RAC regarding this matter. We all have a duty of care to our children. Please make the right choice and turn off your engine whilst parked.
Also ensure you do not park where there are no parking signs or across someone’s drive. Traffic Enforcement will be issuing parking tickets for inappropriate parking.
Thank you for your cooperation.
RAC Advice & Guidance
The Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling contributing to this.
The Government is working to address the issue as a whole, but what can you do to help the situation?
Cutting out engine idling will help for a start – not only will it improve air quality in congested areas but it is also a potentially fine-able offence.
We take a look at why idling is so bad for the environment and what is being done to discourage it.
What is idling?
Idling is the act of leaving a vehicle’s engine running while it is stationary.
While this is often the result of traffic, there are some instances, such as waiting for children outside of schools and in traffic jams/long traffic pauses, when idling is not necessary and should be avoided.
Why is idling bad?
Idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air.
These fumes contain a number of harmful gasses including carbon dioxide, which is bad for the environment and contributes towards climate change, as well as a range of other harmful gasses including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons which are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.
Advice to stop idling
- Try to consider how long you are going to be stationary in traffic. The RAC recommends that motorists turn off their engines if they think they are not going to move for around two minutes.
- Many modern vehicles have ‘stop-start’ systems fitted that automatically switch off the engine when the vehicle is stationary and restart it as soon as the accelerator is pressed. Manufacturers allow this feature to be manually switched off, however we urge motorists not to do this. There is no risk to your vehicle in allowing this feature to be left on.
- For vehicles without ‘stop-start’ it’s fine to turn off your engine, but you should try to avoid doing this repeatedly in a short space of time. In addition, older vehicles (around eight years old) and vehicles with older batteries (around five years old) may struggle if they are started too often in a short space of time.Dispelling myths around stopping and starting
- With stop-start systems, don’t worry about the battery not getting charged while the engine is off – the stop-start system will automatically restart the engine to ensure the battery is kept fully charged, even in stationary traffic.
- Switching off your engine in traffic should not adversely affect your fuel economy. However, fuel usage from starting does vary from model to model. Generally, older vehicles – 10 years or older – will use more fuel when starting and may require some accelerator use which will inevitably use some fuel. If a vehicle will start without any use of the accelerator, then try not to use it.
If motorists can start making small changes today it will help to improve air quality for everyone and potentially reduce the likelihood of charges having to be imposed on certain vehicles entering urban areas.
Diesel vehicles are thought to be one of the biggest contributors to the problem.
Can I get a fine for idling?
The issue of engines not being switched off when vehicles are parked is, unbeknownst to many, already an offence.
Rule 123 of The Highway Code looks at ‘The Driver and the Environment’, stating that drivers must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.
Local authorities have the power to issue £20 fixed penalties for emission offences and stationary idling under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002.
However, it is important to note that this is imposed only if a motorist refuses to switch off their engine off when asked to do so by an authorised person.