Parents could face fines for leaving engine on outside school

An idle car produces enough emissions in a minute to fill 150 balloons.

The school run is always a busy time. Dozens of cars cramming into the tiny spaces outside schools, while a dozen more try to drive through the ever-shrinking gap between parked vehicles. It’s a bit of a struggle.

All these cars in one area isn’t just frustrating, it’s also pretty bad for air pollution. If every car on the school run is parked with its engine on, that’s a lot of fumes in one small area. We even have the balloon-based facts to prove it…

According to Westminster City Council, a car parked with the engine on (also known as ‘idling’) for just one minute produces enough harmful emissions to fill 150 balloons.

Now, two national health bodies in England have come together to put proposals forward to ban car idling in areas where there are vulnerable people present.

The proposals

Put together by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) and Public Health England (PHE), the plans would introduce no-idling zones outside schools, hospitals and care homes. Any driver caught leaving their engine on would face a fine.

Westminster Council (the balloon experts) already have a similar policy in place, where drivers can receive an £80 fine for being idle.

The proposals want to make areas safer for people who are more likely to be affected by harmful emissions – typically the youngest and oldest in society.

A practical approach

As Professor Paul Lincoln, Chairman at Nice explains, the proposals are backed up by research and look to be as practical as possible.

He said: “Air pollution is a major risk to our health and so far, suggested measures have not managed to tackle the problem sufficiently.

“This guidance is based upon the best evidence available. It outlines a range of practical steps that local authorities can take, such as the implementation of no-idling zones, to reduce emissions and protect the public.”

While these proposals get thought over by those in power, there’s no harm in switching your engine off next time you park up for the school run. In fact, there’s a heck of a lot less harm if you do.

Is car sickness an unwanted passenger every school run? Don’t worry, Ford may have you covered.