No fines in two years for idling drivers - but zone could be extended

Pollution. Picture: Lewis Whyld/PA

The zone in Norwich where drivers can be fined for idling their engines could be extended. - Credit: PA

The area of Norwich city centre where bus and taxi drivers can be fined for idling their engines could be extended - even though not a single fine has been issued in more than two years.

The ban on idling engines was introduced in the Castle Meadow part of Norwich city centre in October 2018 as part of efforts to cut pollution and improve air quality.

Norwich City Council's enforcement officers can give verbal warnings to drivers who keep their engines running while stationary.

25 and 25A bus departing Castle Meadow. Photo: Steve Adams

Buses in Castle Meadow. - Credit: Archant

If drivers fail to comply, then £20 fixed penalty notices can be issued.

But council officers have confirmed not a single fine has been issued and they have no record of what verbal warnings were given.

Yet, at a meeting of the Labour-controlled cabinet on Wednesday, June 9, councillors will be asked to back a plan which could extend the zone.

It could be extended to cover all streets in Norwich which are bus and taxi only, such as Rampant Horse Street, Red Lion Street and St Stephens Street.

That plan is the five year air quality action plan for Norwich, covering the years from 2020 to 2025.

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As well as a mooted expansion to the low emission zone, that plan also looks to restrict traffic in those areas to a "much tougher" Euro emission standard by the end of 2023.

First Buses are already planning to spend £18m to replace all Euro 3 and 4 buses with Euro 6 vehicles.

In the report which will come before councillors, officers state: "Restricting access into the expanded Low Emission Zone for buses/taxis with tougher engine standards of Euro emissions will have ramifications for the bus and taxi companies.

"The proposed three-year time period for the execution of this measure should provide adequate time for businesses to adjust to this requirement which is long overdue and brings Norwich in line with other cities of its size and reach."

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor. - Credit: Archant

City council leader Alan Waters said the approach to fines had always been about education, rather than enforcement, but extending that zone and encouraging better vehicles was a sensible approach.