Motorists idling their cars at the school gate or other high risk air pollution areas should receive a fine.
That’s the suggestion from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which has published a list of guidance for local councils to improve air quality and reduce carbon dioxide emissions across England.
The group says a ‘no vehicle idling’ rule would significantly improve air quality in areas where vulnerable people gather, such as around schools, hospitals and care homes – drivers already face £80 fines for leaving their car running in Westminster.
Public Health England (PHE), which collaborated on the report, estimates long term exposure to particulate air pollution results in around 25,000 deaths a year, making it the largest environmental risk linked to deaths.
The report also says drivers could slash air pollution simply by driving more smoothly, suggesting accelerating or decelerating too rapidly leads to increased fuel consumption and more emissions.
It says businesses and transport services need to educate their staff in more efficient driving skills.
The report also calls for the introduction of clean air zones where polluting vehicles cannot drive and for a push for all members of society to replace driving with walking or cycling wherever possible.
Professor Mark Baker, Director for the Centre of Guidelines at NICE, said: “The battle against air pollution has to be one we are all fully committed to.
“We need a collaborative long-term plan to improve air quality. Our guidance can help us to achieve that.”