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Parents could be fined for leaving car engines running

Council may also take action on traffic at Thatcham level crossing

Local Democracy Reporter Alex Seabrook

Parents could be fined for leaving car engines running

DRIVERS in West Berkshire who leave their car engines running while outside schools could be now be fined.

The fines would also affect drivers queuing at the Thatcham railway crossing and are an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. 

They would be a last resort and drivers would be warned first. 

Councillor David Marsh (Green, Wash Common) said: “I’m strongly in favour of having this sanction of fines available. It may well be the threat will be enough.”

He made the comments at a meeting of the licensing committee on Monday at West Berkshire Council.

Mr Marsh said: “As anyone who goes near a school knows, an awful problem is the people who sit outside with their engines idling. 

“It’s a minority and most people do get it. But pretty much every day there are one or two. There’s always someone.”

The licensing committee was considering introducing fixed penalty notices for taxis who leave their engines running while parked and whether this would also apply to all drivers in the district.

As well as fines, which would be £20, there would be an idling campaign and improved signs to remind drivers. 

Mr Marsh said: “It’s irritating if you drive, but we have to educate people to do this. We need a whole range of these options – educating people, signs all over the place, and ultimate sanction of a fine.

“This actually is not that hard. 

“It’s a bit like plastic bags in supermarkets or seatbelts when they first came in.”

Graham Bridgman (Con, Burghfield and Mortimer) said: “I entirely agree. Clearly we want to encourage those that we have relationships with to switch off idling engines whenever possible.”

The proposals would first have to be considered by the council’s environment committee, before being implemented.

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Article comments

  • Just An Opinion

    21/11/2019 - 13:56

    I fully understand the reasoning behind this, but what about in very cold conditions?


  • berkshireboy71


    21/11/2019 - 10:05

    where will this money go? they should sort out the level crossing in thatcham. with a bridge so that traffic can go under and trains going over. this was done in redhill to ease traffic to get in and out a bussiness park in redhill surrey.this from network rail media:Surrey County Council and Network Rail have reached a satisfactory agreement that gives the go ahead for Holmethorpe Bridge, Redhill. The construction of the new bridge under the tracks, posed a number of potential risks to the operation of the railway, including delays to services, which could impose unacceptable financial penalties on Network Rail and Surrey County Council. Surrey County Council and Network Rail are not funded to absorb these potential financial penalties and an agreement was sought to reduce liability costs to both organisations. The new deal will see the local authorities liability limited. Permission to sign the contract with Network Rail was granted at a meeting of the Council’s Executive.


  • NoisyNortherner

    21/11/2019 - 09:21

    I fully support initiatives like this. Getting people to consider the consequences of their actions, no matter how large or small, will go a long way to changing attitudes.


    • anorak

      21/11/2019 - 20:17

      Absolutely agree! I often get caught at the level crossing in Kintbury, and the length of time that some people leave their engines running is just unbelievable. Why do they do it?