Petrol owners could be slapped with fine for breaking rule on school run

Parents with petrol and diesel vehicles may be issued an £80 fine when dropping off or picking up their children from school this week.

Youngsters return to the classroom from Monday, September 4 as the six-week summer holidays come to a close.

However, a common error when parking up outside the school gates could catch motorists unaware.

Leaving an engine running is a violation of key driving laws and would likely see drivers issued motoring fines.

Vehicle idling is an offence under the Road Traffic Act with dividers slapped with an £80 fine if stopped outside schools in some London boroughs.

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Charges are only £20 across the rest of the country but could rise to £40 if road users fail to pay the fee.

Graham Conway, managing director of Select Car Leasing explained: “It’s a common site at schools across the land, but engine idling is something that could catch you out.

“That’s because Rule 123 of the Highway Code states, ‘You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road’.

“The regulation is enforced by Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, which allows local authorities to issue fines of up to £80.

“Aside from the legal issue, it’s also not great to be chugging out fumes close to so many youngsters – and bad for the environment to boot.”

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According to, enforcement is still a concern with very few fines actually dished out.

Last year, The Guardian reported more than 70,000 idling drivers were reported through Westminster Council since 2017

However, just 63 fines of £80 were issued with only half of these actually paid by road users.

In some areas, charges are only issued if a driver refuses to turn off an engine if they are told to by officers.

It means law-abiding citizens could escape punishment by just doing as they say when approached by officials.

Ash Young, founder of said leaving an engine on would also waste motorists’ valuable petrol and diesel.

He explained: “The act of ‘idling’ is leaving a vehicle’s engine running whilst the vehicle is not in motion, which pumps toxic carbon dioxide (CO2) into the air.

“Idling sometimes cannot be avoided, however, in many cases like waiting at the school gates, it can be prevented.

“Idling for just 10 seconds produces more fuel and emissions that contribute to climate change than stopping and re-starting your engine.”

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