Almost half of drivers want to see fines handed out to motorists who refuse to turn off their engines while parked, according to a new UK survey.

In a study by the RAC, 72 percent of 2,130 members said they wanted to see councils tackling motorists who leave their engines on, with 44 percent calling for drivers to be hit in the pocket.

“It is clear from our research that the vast majority of drivers are far more aware of the impact of vehicle emissions than they were three years ago,” said Nicholas Lyes, Head of Roads Policy at the RAC.

“They are conscious of pollution from parked vehicles running their engines needlessly to the point they want to see local councils taking some form of action against those who do this. At the very least they would like a council official to speak to those who do it and ask them to switch off.”

Currently councils can fine drivers £20 for idling while parked.

Over half of those surveyed (55%) said they were more concerned about the impact vehicle emissions have on the environment and public health than they were three years ago.

The problem of idling looks to be widespread with 88 percent of RAC members saying they have seen drivers parked at the side of a road with their engines still running.

“The presence of enforcement officers and ‘no engine idling’ signs, complete with penalties, must be the next step in making our urban environments better for everyone who lives, drives and works in them,” added Mr Lyes.