Parents could be handed on-the-spot fines of £100 if they leave their car engine running outside the school gates. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling vowed to get tough on motorists leaving their engines ‘idling’ while parked – including parents dropping off or picking up their children at school.

The move is being hailed as a way of reducing pollution as idling engines can produce more pollution than cars on the move. Drivers are already liable for fines starting at £20 if they refuse to turn off a motor when asked. But officials are understood to be looking at increasing the penalty to as much as £100 for ordinary motorists. 

Launching a public consultation, Grayling said: “We are determined to crack down on drivers who pollute our communities by leaving their engines running, particularly outside school gates where our children are breathing in this toxic air.”