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Council to fine drivers who keep their diesel engine running

Poor diesels. First London Mayor Boris Jonhson announced a proposal that would see the congestion charge double and plans to increase Vehicle Excise Duty. Now you could be fined for simply leaving the engine on too long.

Islington council has announced it will now enforce a law introduced in 2002 that gives it the power to slap motorists with a £20 if they leave the engine running unnecessarily. Anything from a car waiting to pick someone up to a lorry trying to unload goods will be targetable.

Diesels are said to emit more nitrogen dioxide and particulates than a petrol. The move is designed to reduce the effect of poor air quality, which reportedly kills 200 people a year in the London borough. More than 215,000 people call Islington their home.

Islington council executive member for the environment commented: “We are committed to improving air quality in Islington which is why we are clamping down on idling buses, lorries and diesel cars, as part of our air quality strategy.

“We are taking action to tackle the problem of air pollution in Islington but we need Boris Johnson to do his share: by introducing a low-polluting bus fleet, and addressing the high number of polluting lorries that travel through our streets on a daily basis affecting residents’ health.”

A study by the Environmental Health Perspectives linked diesel emissions with an estimated 11,000 lung cancer deaths per year worldwide.

Critics have expressed anger at the government’s treatment of diesels, arguing that not so long ago it was encouraging motorists to convert from petrol.

We doubt Islington council is going to fine you for waiting at traffic lights and it is a non-issue if you have a modern diesel with stop-start technology. Apart from that, probably best to switch off and save fuel and your lungs.

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