Starting this year, leaving a vehicle idling while parked outside a hospital or school in Edmonton could cost the driver a big fine.

A new bylaw which took effect New Year's Day prohibits motorists from letting their vehicles idle for more than five minutes per half-hour outside the designated buildings when the temperature is above zero.

School buses, ambulances, taxis and other vehicles licensed for transporting people are exempt.

City council passed the bylaw last May, but it will not be enforced until no-idling signs are posted.

The penalty for not turning off the motor is $250, but community standards branch manager David Aitken says tickets will only be handed out as a last resort.

Coun. Don Iveson says the bylaw is a statement that clean air and the health of vulnerable citizens mater.

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