VERITY LUSH: Don't be so idle: turn off your engine outside school

With the rise in public awareness of the long-term damage caused by exhaust fumes '“ especially in the developing bodies of children '“ perhaps schools need to start asking parents to switch off their engines while they idle at the kerbside on the school run.

Friday, 7th July 2017, 7:23 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:49 am
Stationary idling is an offence
Stationary idling is an offence

Aside from polluting the environment (and you must be either selfish or perhaps a halfwit if you really don’t care what your own future generations will be growing up in), what’s the point? You’re wasting fuel and gaining nothing.

Even if it’s winter, you should be warm enough in your car to wait five minutes without heating. Unless you’re the parent who turns up 30 minutes early because of traffic (the irony) and have nothing else to do with that time.

Furthermore, it’s illegal.

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Stationary idling is an offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988.

Said Act enforces rule 123 of the Highway Code, stating: ‘You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.’

Doing so can incur a £20 fixed-penalty fine under the Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002. This goes up to £40 if unpaid within a given period.

And it may be the reason why several traffic wardens have been parading up and down the street outside my daughter’s school.

It’s a small thing but an important one and only actually applies on public roads – so you’d get away with it in the school car park, but unless you’re a teacher, you’re unlikely to be parked there.

It seems a shame that we give so little thought to what is being pumped out of our cars.

Clearly you wouldn’t be fined for your engine idling at traffic lights, but it gives food for thought when you consider the mounting evidence of what this pollution is doing to our bodies.

Even dementia is now thought to have links to air pollution and lack of air quality.

For the sake of the children we try so hard to protect in other ways, perhaps switching off outside school is a small ask.


Along with idling engines comes a far more immediate danger

It’s of the muppet motorist who still believes it’s OK to use their mobile while driving.

Worryingly, these folk are everywhere.

Nobody actually thinks they’re going to kill someone on the roads or pavements because of their inability to wait to answer a text or call, but people do kill others and ruin many lives as a consequence.

What is possibly so important that you can’t either ignore and wait, or find a safe place to pull over and call back if you really think it is an emergency?

If you choose to answer, you’re making the choice that the call you’re responding to, is more important than a human life.


Good luck to women all over the city who will be taking part in the Southsea Pretty Muddy Race for Life this weekend!

The weather when I enter races tends to go only from one extreme or another – monsoon or summer burn-out.

So, my friends, brace yourselves and pack either sun lotion or a raincoat, for I shall be there.

I have coerced my friend Anneke into entering it and it is her first-ever organised run.

It’s a fab opportunity to dip a toe into the world of said runs.

It’s also a great chance to raise money and have great fun with other like-minded ladies, all ready to get filthy and drenched in mud.

If you are entering then have a great day. Good luck!