Drivers are being encouraged to support Richmond’s pledge to remain the cleanest and greenest borough in London.

Since March 1, Richmond have been issuing fines to road users who were caught running their engines while it was stationary.

Idling rules also fall under section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which enforces rule 123 of the Highway Code.

Cllr Alexander Ehmann, Richmond Council Chair of the Transport and Air Quality Committee, said: “It’s our ambition to make this borough a leader in the crucial fight to improve air quality in London.

“One of the biggest contributors to poor air quality is the harmful emissions produced by drivers leaving their engines running whilst stopped for lengthy periods.

“This is about changing behaviour. It isn’t about issuing fines.”

Idling mainly occurs through traffic however, the Council claim that there are other cases - such as waiting at level crossings and waiting outside businesses or schools, where drivers should turn off their engines.

The council also suggest that around 150 balloons of exhaust emissions per minute are produced through car idling.

These emissions are also linked to harmful chemicals like cyanide, NOx and PM2.5 which are also released every minute.

The Royal College of Physicians also suggest that around 40,000 deaths a year are related to air pollution.

Cllr Ehmann added: “However, since March our parking enforcement officers have had the powers to fine those who refuse to turn off their engines when asked.

“They have spoken to hundreds of drivers and nearly all have turned off their engines and, moving forward we have invested further funding to recruit more officers.

“This means we will have even more resource to educate drivers and encourage them to switch-off.

“We are also asking people to pledge that they won’t leave their engines idling. Nearly 800 people have so far signed up and I don’t see why all drivers in the borough shouldn’t make the pledge.

“There is simply no reason for anyone to be idling their engine – whether stopped at level crossings, making deliveries or on the school run – the costs to everyone’s health is serious and avoidable.”