PARENTS in West Berkshire who leave their car engines running while outside schools could be now be fined.

The fines would also affect drivers queuing at the railway crossing Thatcham, and are an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality. 

They would be a last resort, and drivers would be warned first. 

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Councillor David Marsh (Green, Wash Common) said: “I’m strongly in favour of having this sanction of fines available. It may well be the threat will be enough.”

He made the comments at a meeting of the licensing committee on November 18 at West Berkshire Council.

Cllr Marsh said: “As anyone who goes near a school knows, an awful problem is the people who sit outside with their engines idling. 

“It’s a minority and most people do get it. But pretty much every day there are one or two. There’s always someone.”

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The licensing committee were considering introducing fixed penalty notices for taxis who leave their engines running while parked, and whether this would also apply to all drivers in the district.

As well as fines, which would be £20, there would be an idling campaign and improved signs to remind drivers. 

Cllr Marsh said: “It’s irritating if you drive, but we have to educate people to do this. We need a whole range of these options. 

“Educating people, signs all over the place, and ultimate sanction of a fine. This actually is not that hard. 

“It’s a bit like plastic bags in supermarkets, or seatbelts when they first came in.”

Cllr Graham Bridgman (Con, Burghfield & Mortimer) said: “I entirely agree. Clearly we want to encourage those that we have relationships with to switch off idling engines whenever possible.”

The proposals would first have to be considered by the council’s environment board, before being implemented.