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Drivers can break the Highway Code if they leave an engine running while stationary on a public road. According to the RAC, local authorities have the power to issue £20 fixed penalties for emission offences including idling your engine.

Leaving a car unattended with the engine running for even a few minutes could be enough for road users to break the law and be issued with a penalty.

However, the RAC warns the fine is only imposed if road users refuse to switch off their vehicle when they are asked to do so.

This means road users can avoid all charges if they simply follow the advice given to them from police or enforcement teams.

Experts at Rivervale Leasing say divers could be it with a £1,000 fine if they continue to refuse to turn off their vehicles.

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Rule 123 of the Highway Code states: “You MUST NOT leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road.”.

This is backed up by section 98 of the Road Vehicles Regulations 1986 which states drivers should stop the engine “when it is stationary so far as is necessary to prevent noise or exhaust emissions, unless the vehicle is stationary because of traffic”,

However, according to, the rules over stationary idling only apply on public roads.

Therefore, drivers would not be fined if they idle their cars on their driveways or in a supermarket car park.

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The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has cracked down on those idling their engines, adding this was “unnecessary and should be avoided”.

They say idling is a health hazard as it pollutes the air with exhaust fumes and pollutants.

The Borough said it targets problem areas in the borough and are authorised to walk around switching off engines.

They encourage any member of the public to alert them to any problem areas or idling vehicles to deal with problems.

London’s Islington Council began a similar crackdown on polluting vehicles in 2014 and then again in 2016.

In early 2018, Westminster Council also launched its Don’t be Idle campaign aimed at reducing kerb idling.

Research from the RAC conducted kast year found 72 percent of drivers supported the idea of fines for those who leave their engine idling.

Just 26 percent said dirvers should be told to turn their engine off but not be issued with any penalties if they refuse. 

Only two percent said fines should be issued to drivers without any prior warning.

The data revealed 80 percent of those surveyed had seen drivers parked at the side of the road with their engine running at least once.

A total of 40 percent admitted they see this frequently suggesting the offence is commonly broken.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy said: “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.”

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