Taxi drivers will be issued with penalty tickets if caught engine idling at taxi ranks ‘where relevant signage is in place’.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) warned union representatives it will be stepping up its enforcement at a licensing applications committee meeting on Tuesday, June 11.

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Up until now, taxi licensing enforcement officers have only been able to issue tickets if drivers refuse to turn off their engines when warned.

Engine idling is defined as ‘running a vehicle’s engine when the vehicle is not in motion’.

Councillor Tony Page, lead member for Strategic Environment and Transport, said to taxi union representatives at the meeting: “I am now saying to council officers that where we are able to we should be serving penalty tickets to drivers that are idling unnecessarily.

“There is no excuse. Could you please say to members that we will be stepping up our enforcement.

“The days of sending warning letters are over.”

Councillors agreed to campaign to reduce engine idling as part of the Reading’s Air Quality Action Plan, at the Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport Committee on November 23, 2016.

In 2017, the council agreed to inform and communicate with taxi drivers on the harm caused by idling.

Cllr Page added: “Since then officers have repeated this same message to the trade organisations and many drivers appear to have taken the message on board. However, a minority have not.

“Taxi licencing enforcement officers routinely ask taxi drivers to turn off their engines when they visit the ranks.

“The drafting of the legislation requires that officers provide a warning to drivers and if they comply a fixed penalty notice cannot be issued.

“It is now time that further and more formal action is taken with drivers and the trade to try to change the culture around idling.

“Officers are now actively issuing fixed penalty notices for unnecessary idling at a rank where relevant signage is in place.”

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A Reading Taxi Association representative said: “Everyone knows that we are not supposed to do it.

“We have been given plenty of warnings and it doesn’t need to happen. There is no excuse.”

Councillors agreed to campaign to reduce engine idling as part of the Reading’s Air Quality Action Plan, at the strategic environment, planning and transport committee on 23 November 2016.