Green Party councillors have welcomed the news that Norwich City Council is proposing to fine drivers who refuse to switch off their engines while stationary.


The council’s Labour cabinet will discuss next Wednesday whether to ask the government for permission to issue fixed penalty notices for “stationary idling offences”. If the proposal is agreed, signs will be put up informing drivers, and parking enforcement officers who ask drivers to switch off their engines will be able to fine them £20 if they refuse.


Councils have had the right to apply for these powers since 2002, but many have only done so in the last few years as the issue of air quality has attracted more attention.


Green Party councillor Lesley Grahame said: “This is a very sensible step which we have been asking the council to take for quite a while now. For several years, my Green Party colleagues and I have been raising the issue of air pollution at every opportunity, and it feels as though the council is finally starting to take it seriously.


“When the Green Party ran a campaign handing out cards to bus drivers asking them to switch off their engines, we found most of them were supportive. The health impacts of pollution are worst for the people in the vehicle, so this measure will benefit drivers and passengers as well as people on the street.


“Really we want to see polluting diesel vehicles phased out as soon as possible in favour of low-emission alternatives, and we’ve been asking the city and county councils to work with bus operators on this. In the short term, however, we need to deal with the problem of engine idling, so this is a very positive step.”