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Turn it off

Our campaign to improve air quality 

Our campaign aims to help improve local air quality across southern Oxfordshire by asking drivers to turn off their engines when they are not driving.

Keeping the engine running – known as idling – while parked at the side of the road, sitting in traffic, or waiting to collect someone, contributes to an increase in levels of air pollutants.

These air pollutants are linked to a higher chance of developing lung cancer, heart disease, asthma, coughs and bronchitis, particularly in vulnerable people such as older people and children.

The aim of our campaign is to encourage people to think about idling and if they are stopped for more than a minute or parked then they should turn their engines off.

According to information from DEFRA, if a vehicle engine is turned off and restarted after a minute or more this will result in less pollution than if the vehicle was idling for that time.

Keeping the engine running when the vehicle is not moving wastes fuel. So, turning off makes sense from both a health viewpoint and a financial one.

This is a very simple small step that everyone can take and can make a difference.

Contact us for more information

Myths about vehicle idling

  • If it’s cold outside, I need to keep the engine running to keep the heater on.

Wrong – if you switch the engine off when you park and keep the ignition on, the heater should stay warm for up to 30 minutes.

  • Stopping and starting will wear out the engine

Wrong – this is no longer a problem with modern engines and by not idling you will use less fuel and reduce your fuel costs.

  • Starting an engine causes more pollution than idling

Wrong – turning off an engine and restarting it after a minute or longer causes less pollution than keeping the engine idling and uses less fuel

  • If I keep the engine running I’m not doing anything wrong legally

Wrong – Rule 123 of The Highway Code states that drivers must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road. 

Contact us - Environmental Protection

01235 422403
(Text phone users add 18001 before dialing)

South Oxfordshire District Council
Environmental Protection Team
Abbey House
Abbey Close
OX14 3JE