DON’T let your engine idle – it could cost you an £80 fine.

Drivers who are repeatedly caught with the engine of their vehicle running while they are stopped could be fined under government plans aimed at reducing air pollution.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said he supported calls from some  councils to introduce stronger measures to tackle idling engines, which can cause more pollution than when a car is moving.

There are actually laws in place but currently police can issue a fine only after they have given the driver a warning which is then ignored for over a minute.

The fine is £20 or £80, depending on how the local authorities choose to enforce the law.

Gove told The Times newspaper that instant fines for repeat offenders should be considered  but said it was important to ensure the new powers would be used proportionately by councils.

Paul Loughlin, a motoring law solicitor at  Stephensons Solicitors in London said such powers are likely to prove an effective deterrent and will go some way to reducing the pollution levels in towns and cities.

He added: “It remains unclear how local authorities will enforce them. There is an onus on the Government to spell out how these powers will be used as well as making it clear for drivers to turn off their engines whilst parked.

“The fines, some of which stretching to £1,000 for repeat offenders, will be keenly felt in particular by businesses and couriers, who often leave their vehicles running whilst making deliveries.”