Councillors approve bid to apply for power to fine idling city centre drivers

First buses number 25 and 25A that follow a route that allows visitors to get a good glimpse of the

First buses number 25 and 25A that follow a route that allows visitors to get a good glimpse of the city and can be caught in Castle Meadow. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

Motorists who sit idle with their engines running could soon face £20 fines, after councillors agreed to seek the power to issue the penalties.

Rose Lane Car Park. Photo : Steve Adams

Rose Lane Car Park. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Norwich City Council is to ask the government for the power to enable its civil enforcement officers to dish out fines to drivers who leave their engines idling.

This would not apply to slow-moving vehicles caught in roadworks or congestion, but would target those who wait by the roadside without switching their engines off.

The initiative, which requires the approval of the Secretary of State, would cover cars, buses and taxis on public roads in parts of the city centre which are covered by an air quality action plan.

At a meeting of the city council's cabinet, members approved the proposal to seek government permission for the move.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said: 'It is important to make it clear this is not about general traffic, but specific areas of the city.

'It is not the average motorist sitting in traffic or congestion that will be affected.'

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Mr Stonard added that should a civil enforcement officer encounter an idling vehicle, they would first ask the motorist to switch off their engine before issuing any penalty notices.

He said the measure would go towards improving air quality in the city and reducing carbon emissions in the city centre.

Mr Stonard identified Castle Meadow as one area particularly susceptible to idling, saying he often encountered buses sitting for long periods of time with their engines running.

Gail Harris, who was chairing the meeting, described the notion as 'a sensible way forward'.

Mr Stonard added: 'This would not be a case of us simply pouncing on motorists for financial gain - were it about money the proposed fines would be much higher and the option to comply would not be offered.'

Were the council to be granted this power, signs would also be placed in the areas included in the scheme, alerting motorists.

Streets likely to be targeted include Riverside Road, Chapel Field North and St Stephens Street.