Agenda item

London Borough of Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2018-22 Public and enforcement of Anti-Idling Regulations

[Report of the Director of Environment and Neighbourhoods. To be introduced by the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability.]


Final Draft following public & statutory consultation on the Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2018-22.  Agreement to become a designated authority to issue fixed penalty notices for stationary idling engine offences.


The Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Sustainability introduced this report which provided an update on the final draft of the Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24, following public & statutory consultation. Cabinet's approval was sought for the Council to become a designated authority to issue fixed penalty notices for stationary idling engine offences.


The Cabinet Member noted the Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24 laid out the Council’s current and future ambitions to reduce air pollution. As, with much of London, improving air quality was a key priority in Haringey and in London because of the negative effect it had on residents health, particularly on older, disabled residents and our children. The air quality was particularly bad in the east of borough. The air quality agenda affects all aspects of the Council’s work and our activities go hand in hand with our commitments to combatting climate change, developing walking, cycling and the wider use of public transport.


In response to questions from Councillor Emery, the following information was provided:

  • The Cabinet Member confirmed a follow up letter had been sent to the Secretary of State with regard to the joint letter previously sent by Haringey Labour and Liberal Democrat Councillors calling for reform of the restrictive vehicle idling laws.
  • The Cabinet Member informed that funding had been set aside in the next Capital Budget to fund new School Streets. Officers added that the School Streets action plan was being compiled would look to reduce children’s exposure to poor air quality.


Officers confirmed that the Central Government’s Clean Air Strategy 2019 will require the Council to monitor PM2.5. The reason why the Council has not been monitoring PM2.5 levels to date was because London in general was not considered to be breaching the levels that had been previously set by the EU. However, the Council will be monitoring and complying with the legislative requirements of the strategy surrounding PM2.5 by the deadlines within the policy paper. The date of  implementation  would be provided to Cllr Emery in  writing  by the Commercial EH & TS Manager.






  1. To consider the outcome of the consultation on the draft AQAP set out in Appendix A of the report and the Equality Impact Assessment screening tool set out in Appendix C.


  1. To approve the revised Air Quality Action Plan 2019 - 24 in Appendix B; and


  1. To approve the use of fixed penalty notices pursuant to the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 to sanction drivers who have committed a stationary idling offence.




Reasons for Decision


Air Quality Action Plan 2019-24


A copy of the amended AQAP following consultation is attached to this report as Appendix B. The consultation is summarised in section 7 below. The draft AQAP 2019-2024 has been developed with consideration to priority 3 – Place of the Borough Plan 2019-23, in that it will help to deliver an environment that is safe, clean, green and where people can lead active and healthy lives.


Like other London Boroughs, Haringey was declared an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) in 2001 due to air quality levels for two key pollutants exceeding statutory limits - Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and fine particulates (PM10).


Under Part 4 of the Environment Act 1995, Haringey is required to provide an AQAP to address the areas of poor air quality identified within the AQMA.


There is strong evidence that NO2 and PM10 are harmful to health in the following ways:


  • Short term exposure: - is associated with worsening symptoms of pre-existing lung disease and asthma, as well as increased risk of cardiovascular events such as myocardial infarctions and stroke;
  • Long term exposure: - is associated with an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, cancer, reduced lung function and low birth weights (higher risk of complications);
  • Vulnerable Groups – age, the very young and old are high risk groups as well as those with pre-existing conditions i.e. diabetes, respiratory disease and obesity. Poor diet, deprivation and proximity to pollution sources also have an impact on health inequalities.


NO2 is created when fuel is burnt, the main sources have been combustion engines, heating plants and construction plant/vehicles.


PM10 is made up from a variety of substances i.e. soot, dust and secondary particles formed by the reaction of other pollutants in the air. The main sources of particulate matter are combustion engines, biomass heating plants (wood fuelled), brake and tyre wear, construction activity and HGVs.


The AQAP 2019-24 aims to tackle these areas of poor air quality. It sets out 25 actions and commitments, developed under the following seven broad themes in order of priority, that propose to reduce air pollution in Haringey over the next five years:


  • Monitoring and other core statutory duties: maintaining monitoring networks is critical for understanding where pollution is most acute, and what measures are effective to reduce pollution. There are also a number of other very important statutory duties undertaken by local authorities, which form the basis of action to improve pollution;
  • Emissions from developments and buildings: emissions from buildings account for about 15% of the Nitrogen Oxides (NOX) emissions across London so are important in affecting Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentrations;
  • Public health and awareness: raising increased awareness can drive behavioural change to lower emissions as well as to reduce exposure to air pollution;
  • Delivery servicing and freight: vehicles delivering goods and services are usually light and heavy-duty diesel-fuelled vehicles with high primary NO2 emissions;
  • Borough fleet actions: our fleet includes light and heavy-duty diesel-fuelled vehicles such as minibuses and refuse collection vehicles with high primary NO2emissions. Tackling our own fleet means we will be leading by example;
  • Localised solutions: these seek to improve the environment of neighbourhoods through a combination of measures; and
  • Cleaner transport: road transport is the main source of air pollution in London. We need to help facilitate a change to walking, cycling and ultra-low emission vehicles (such as electric).


The plan brings together and references several policies and strategies across the Council including:

  • Haringey Transport Strategy
  • Haringey Carbon Reduction Strategy
  • Haringey Development Plan
  • Parks and Open Spaces Strategy
  • Low Emission Vehicle Strategy Parking Permits Strategy (Ongoing)


In response to the consultation, most respondents favoured traffic reducing interventions such as pedestrianisation, road closures, temporary and permanent car free days as well as green infrastructure. The consultation is summarised in section 7 below.


Fixed penalty notices for idling


The Council has power to authorise the imposition of fixed penalty notices on drivers who commit an idling offence, i.e. leaves their engine running while stationary and fails to stop the engine running when requested to do so.


This had not previously been recommended because research had shown that few fixed penalty notices were served in boroughs where officers have been authorised to issue such notices. Therefore, it did not appear the most cost-effective means of reducing air pollution. However, this position has been reviewed in light of the points outlined below.


Idling was one of the most discussed problems by respondents to the AQAP consultation, with 10% of respondents requesting stricter enforcement measures around schools and other common places for idling. The results of the consultation are summarised in section 7 below.


Fixed penalty notices would be a useful tool as well as a positive message in tackling idling because they would give more weight to existing measures used to promote behavioural change. For example, the Council encouraged drivers to switch off their engines at school gates during Clean Air Day in June 2019. The schools involved were Bounds Green and Coleridge Primary School. The Council has also sent letters to bus and coach companies and mini cab operators within the borough advising them of the health risks associated with idling and requesting that they remind staff not to leave their engines running whilst stationary. It is likely that these measures would be taken more seriously by drivers if officers were authorised to enforce them by way of fixed penalty notices.

The key implication associated with enforcement for idling would be infrastructure and staffing costs.


To help assist, Haringey along with 27 other London Boroughs will take part in a pan-London anti-idling project funded by the Mayors Air Quality Fund (MAQF), coordinated by City of London Corporation and London Borough of Camden. The Fund (£500,000) will provide 2 full time project officers to deliver the following within Haringey:

  • Idling action events,
  • Workshops for schools; and
  • Engage with businesses who have their own fleets


Enforcement to combat idling is a condition of participation in the project. For the purpose of the project, enforcement would include:

  • A website page outlining fines and penalties, and a Council contact to report idling.
  • Ideally, introducing an order to allow for higher fines than the regulatory minimum (as per Westminster, Islington etc.). Although this is not essential, it is likely that this will make the process easier and more viable for boroughs. The Idling Project will share resources to assist.
  • Press release outlining the commitment to enforce against idling and detailing the fines (to be undertaken as a single borough or collectively).
  • Dedicated officer/s (as per Westminster’s Marshalls scheme) or idling enforcement formally incorporated into the role of street marshals/traffic wardens etc. This does not mean they will be required to routinely enforce to the detriment of their day-to-day roles but, at a minimum, there must be a capability and a public commitment to enforce so that idling problems and complaints can be dealt with effectively.


Each borough will be required to provide the following Enforcement Monitoring data annually:

  • The number of staff undertaking on-street enforcement as part of their role.
  • The number of idling drivers spoken to by these officers (even if not fined).
  • Number of penalty notices served.
  • Idling complaints received. This will be recorded in complaints software.


Match funding from boroughs will consist of:

  • Purchasing consumables for the idling action days (leaflets, car stickers etc.).
  • Officer time for supporting the idling behaviour change project.
  • Officer time for the enforcement work (this could be street enforcement officers/traffic wardens etc. as per above).


Therefore, it is recommended that officers be authorised to impose fixed penalty notices because it is now clear that the cost implications would be lower (given the funding from the Mayor of London), residents appear to favour such stricter enforcement measures and it would strengthen the Council’s ability to tackle this source of air pollution.


Alternative options considered


The development of an AQAP is a statutory requirement and therefore there are no lawful alternative. The proposed draft plan integrates a number of key strategies and Council services that all have an impact on air quality and therefore it is considered the best option.


Three options have been considered with regard to taking enforcement action against drivers who commit stationary idling offences: i) do nothing ii) continue to encourage behaviour change using existing measures but without enforcement by way of fixed penalty notices iii) authorise the issue of fixed penalty notices as well as encouraging behaviour change. The reasons why options i) and ii) are not recommended are set out in 5.3 and 5.4. below.


Do nothing


Whilst issuing fixed penalty notices against drivers who commit stationary idling offences is unlikely to have significant effect on air quality by itself, it is nevertheless part of a tool kit for changing the behaviour of drivers. Traffic is the main cause of poor air quality in Haringey and so changing drivers’ habits is an important step towards improving air quality. In order to change the culture and behaviour of drivers, idling can be tackled through a variety of measures.


The consultation showed that addressing idling is an important issue for Haringey residents. If the Council does nothing, it would not be doing all it reasonably can to tackle air quality issues related to traffic, which is the biggest source of poor air quality in Haringey and a significant concern for its residents.


Therefore, this option is not recommended.

Continue to encourage behaviour change using existing measures but without enforcement by way of fixed penalty notices.


The AQAP (2019-2024) includes a range of measures to tackle air quality within the Borough. Measures include education / behaviour change.


Haringey, like many other local authorities, has encouraged behavioural change in order to reduce idling. Some of our recent actions are outlined in paragraph 4.12 above and similar action could be continued in the future without the use of fixed penalty notices. However, whilst these actions will have some effect, if officers are authorised to issue fixed penalty notices, this will give more weight to such requests for drivers to switch their engines off whilst stationary and so would be likely to make the existing measures more effective.


Therefore, this option is not recommended.


Supporting documents: