TAXIS in West Berkshire will soon have to stop idling in a bid to reduce and avoid any unnecessary carbon emissions and air pollution. 

Suzanne McLaughlin, a West Berkshire Council officer, has proposed three options: campaigning to change behaviour, fining taxi drivers, and putting up road signs. 

She said: “Poor air quality has an impact on the health and quality of life.”

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The law allows English councils to fine drivers who allow their vehicles to run unnecessarily while stationary on the road.

Ms McLaughlin said: “If you idle your vehicle unnecessarily while stopped you could be given a £20 fixed penalty ticket.” 

However, council officers would first warn the driver they could get fined, and ask them to turn the engine off.

“A fixed penalty notice would only be issued if the driver refuses to turn off the engine when requested to do so.” 

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Ms McLaughlin made the recommendations in a report to the council’s licensing committee, which will meet on November 18. 

Two areas in West Berkshire have been declared as ‘air quality management areas’. These are in Newbury, by the Greenham Road roundabout, and in Thatcham along the A4.

Ms McLaughlin said: “Lots of local authorities run anti-idling campaigns. There have been a number of different studies focusing on the impact of campaigns around schools. 

“These show positive effects of educating parents and children to the action they can take, while significant reductions in particulate matter were seen in schools with a large number of buses. 

“Evidence shows that targeted and well organised campaigns with community champions involving on street engagement can be very successful.” 

Other ongoing work includes looking at low emission taxis, research funding available from the government’s Office for Low Emission, and considering bringing in minimum emissions standards for taxis.