Car idling

Air pollution is a major environmental risk to health. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is associated with lung inflammation and can trigger asthma symptoms from short-term exposure, while long-term exposure to higher concentrations of NO2 can impair lung development in children and can contribute to serious conditions such as asthma and heart and lung disease, as presented in reports from Public Heath England and the World Health Organization.

About car idling

Idling a car is running a vehicle's engine when it is not in motion. Leaving engines running while stationary is simply an unnecessary source of air pollution. And combating this is particularly important in locations where there are high numbers of idling vehicle engines, such as outside schools and hospitals and by bus stops.

Reasons to avoid idling

You should stop car idling because:

  • Idling creates air pollution and is usually unnecessary. Car idling produces up to 150 balloons of exhaust emissions per minute which contain harmful chemicals like cyanide, nitrogen oxides (NOx) and tiny particles called PM2.5
  • The air pollution created by engine emissions is known to contribute to many health issues, including asthma, lung disease, heart attacks, and cancer. The Royal College of Physicians say 40,000 premature deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with car idling being a contributing factor. Children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable, as are people with existing conditions such as asthma and other lung complaints
  • Idling is an offence in law under Regulation 98 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, as amended, which makes it a requirement for drivers to switch off engines in stationary vehicles. Drivers who are seen idling by our civil enforcement officers will be asked to turn off their engines and warned that failing to do so will lead to a fine. If the driver refuses to switch off their engine after the request, they will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £20. The notice must be paid within 28 days, or it will increase to £40