Michael Fitzalan copy

Idling Engines Plague London

Idling is the new thing to do, when delivering, I even had an hour creative writing session and the same van was idling – a whole hour. I asked the driver, why – it was to keep warm, A walk around the block would have done that. I offered him a fiver to go to the pub and have a coffee and he told me he had to stay near the set as he was on call.

For all you, like him who feel idling is not a problem. Here are the facts. The more fuel you use the more demand rises and the more prices rise but you idea away anyhow, – Maybe it’s a company van or maybe you have more money than sense.

What is idling? 

Idling is the act of sitting in a stationary car with your engine running while it churns out noxious emissions.

These emissions kill about 4,000 people each year, the Guardian reports. To try and reduce this, councils have been targeting drivers who idle. There are some times when idling can’t be avoided, for example when you’re in traffic or stuck in a queue. But you should always switch your engine off if you can. This would include being in gridlocked traffic, stopping outside school or picking up a passenger.

What is wrong with idling? 

Idling engines can cause significant air pollution.

An idling engine can produce up to twice the emissions of a car in motion. It pumps out unnecessary sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere.

These chemicals all have a negative effect on air quality and contribute to asthma, heart disease and lung cancer.

How much pollution does an idling car create?

Research has found that an idling car causes enough emissions to fill 150 balloons with harmful pollutants – every minute. It’s a common misconception that turning your engine off and on again uses more fuel than leaving your car idling. Unless your car has ‘stop-start’ technology you should switch your engine off, so long as it’s safe to do so.

However if you drive an older car, it’s wise to plan ahead rather than turning your engine on and off. Doing so could affect the battery, especially if it’s more than five years old.

London, engine idling law: what are the rules?

To reduce the impact of harmful pollutants, there are laws to discourage drivers from idling.Stationary idling is an offence under Section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. The act enforces Rule 123 of the Highway Code, that states: “You must not leave a vehicle’s engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.”

Can I get a fine for car idling?

If you’re caught idling you could be hit with a £20 fixed-penalty fine under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002, rising to £40 if unpaid within the required timeframe. Fines can be as high as £80 in certain areas of London where there are additional measures to cut emissions. Islington Council mounted what’s thought to be the first crackdown of its kind on vehicles churning out ‘unnecessary pollution’ in 2014 and then again in 2016.

So, please switch on your brains and switch off the engines when the car is not being used. If you have to wait and its cold, go for a quick walk around the block.


A well respected author

Michael Fitzalan was born in Clapham, South London where his mother had established a doctor’s surgery in a house which she filled with children.

With three sisters, two brothers and a library full of books, a love of literature was imbued in him from an early age.

Michael Fitzalan comes from Irish parents were doctors and they settled on the West Side of Clapham Common and had six children in quick succession.

A story by Michael Fitzalan

Michael Fitzalan’s first novel gained cult status and here are some others: Waterwitch was a hit with those who have ever sailed; two brothers battle storms and Spanish support for the Malvinas in an attempt to meet up with their girlfriends in Ibiza. They have to get from The Algarve to Ibiza, all very straightforward until engine failure and storms threaten to sink all their plans. The Taint Gallery tells the story of a modern Romeo and Juliet; the story is set in Cheslea and Fulham, not Verona, nevertheless, it is a doomed relationship. The book was shunned by big publishers for its highly charged and graphic sexual content and the small publisher who produced the book folded, copies are rare. A reprint is planned for its twentieth anniversary next year; it is still as pertinent and shocking today as it was back in 1996. Switch is an amazing mixture of Franz Kafka realism yet it reads like a Raymond Chandler thriller. Joe Ederer falls for a French girl but he is recovering from being dumped by his English girlfriend. A fish out of water in London, he chases her home only to be rejected. He hooks up with a suffocating drug addict and that is when his nightmares begin. Major Bruton’s Safari is the story of innocents abroad; a family invited to celebrate the coronation of the Kabaka of Buganda become indoctrinated into the ways of Africa. With an acerbic observer on hand, the family experience the warmth and ways of Uganda that help them to understand themselves a little better. IPG – Innocent Proven Guilty is about a teacher, Philip Hayward whose brother sold their shared flat and ran off to America with the proceeds. Philip bumps into his brother’s ex-girlfriend and she tells him his brother is back. Racing to the address she gave him, he arrives to find his brother with a knife in his back. As he leaves, his shoes leave bloody footprints and the police come looking for him. Carom – Finn McHugh and his team take on a swindler and smuggler, Didier, who is depraved in so many ways. They know he is smuggling art and drugs; he must be stopped before others take him out. The Cubans, want him dead, Finn wants to break the smuggling ring. Who will win? Remember the Fifth November – Guy Fawkes was innocent, Catesby was a broken man who brought his children up in the Anglican faith, yet Robert Cecil arranged for them to be portrayed as terrible villains. With a spy service second to none and with moles everywhere how could someone hatch a plot like this and fail to be discovered? The answer, they could not. Read the truth! One – Bullying does not go on anymore in schools. I would not bet on it. Weep as you read the terrible story of a school bully and the misery he dispenses to all the boys. Then, cheer as one of his victims takes revenge. Take a trip to a prep school in a time when kids built tree houses, danced and swung on Tarzan ropes!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *