EAST Renfrewshire Council is clamping down on motorists who fail to switch off their vehicle’s engine while they are stationary.

In a bid to improve the area’s air quality, a Roads Traffic notice has been issued which allows council staff to issue a fixed penalty to any drivers who are flouting the regulations on idling.

Vehicle emission tests are also taking place across East Renfrewshire as part of the drive to tackle pollution.

Drivers who fail this test will be handed a £60 fine, while those who refuse to co-operate when asked to switch off their car’s engine will be considered to have committed a ‘stationary idling offence’ and will be ordered to pay a £20 penalty.

A council spokesperson told the Barrhead News: “As part of our ongoing commitment to improving our environment, we carry out emissions checks on vehicles throughout the area.

“If vehicles checked are not complying with the legal requirements, we are able to take enforcement action.”

A report released by Friends of the Earth Scotland (FoES) this week showed the positive impact the coronavirus lockdown has had on air quality.

However, Gavin Thomson, FoES air pollution campaigner, said: “Temporary improvements in air quality arrived at an enormous cost to our communities.

“There was no intention or concerted political action to reduce emissions, which is why the falls were not maintained when restrictions eased.

“We need a just and green recovery, including investment in our public transport and more options for safe walking and cycling, to improve the air we breathe permanently.”

The Scottish Government has said air pollution levels were improving even before the pandemic struck.

A spokeswoman added: “Our recent programme for government committed over £500million for large-scale active travel infrastructure projects and, as part of our Climate Change Plan update, we have committed to phase out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans and reduce car kilometres by 20% by 2030.”