Idling Engines- Don’t Be Idle

What is Idling?

Idling is leaving a vehicles engine running whilst parked or stationary. This usually occurs when drivers stop at a red light, waiting whilst parked outside a business or outside schools and hospitals.

It is almost always unnecessary and should be avoided.

Why is idling bad?

It is a health hazard

It pollutes the air with exhaust fumes. These emissions contain air pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide which are toxic to the human body. This is a health hazard and can aggravate asthma and allergies, as well as respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

Children are especially vulnerable as their lungs are still developing. The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions are also at risk.

It wastes fuel and money

Idling reduces your vehicles fuel economy which costs you money. Idling for more than ten seconds uses more fuel (and produces more emissions) than stopping and restarting your engine does. It is like burning money!

It is illegal

Under the Road Vehicle Regulations (1986) it's an offence to leave vehicle engines running unnecessarily when they are stationary.

Council Officers target problem areas in the borough and are authorised to ask idling drivers to switch off their engines and will explain why.

If you refuse, they can issue a £20 fixed penalty notice which can increase to £40 if unpaid.

Reporting smoky vehicles

We encourage the public to alert us to any problem areas or idling vehicles so action can be taken. This can be done in the following ways:

Idling Action Project

The Council has been working in partnership with Idling Action London, a behaviour change campaign funded by the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund and supported by 31 London Authorities. 

Idling Action has been running air pollution anti-idling workshops with 40 schools, and speaking with 7,900 drivers to ask them to switch off their engines at regular idling action events throughout the 31 partner boroughs. 

To find out more and to download free information and resources visit the Idling Action website.


Kensington & Chelsea are supporting a new London wide campaign encouraging fleets and businesses to tackle air pollution caused by idling engines. 

Idling Action’s #EnginesOff campaign asks businesses to pledge that their drivers and other employees will not leave their engines on when parked. As well as asking businesses to pledge, the partner local authorities' own fleets will be taking part in driver training and taking the #EnginesOff pledge.

As part of the #EnginesOff pledge, Idling Action is offering London drivers free training and is providing a toolkit of resources to businesses whose operations involve vehicle fleets, professional drivers, or employees who travel by car to work.