No engine idling

What is engine idling?

Idling is the act of leaving a vehicle's engine running while it is stationary. Idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air. These fumes contain a number of harmful gases including Carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), particular matters (PMs) and hydrocarbons, which are linked to diseases and also bad for the environment as a whole.

Haringey was declared an air quality management area in July 2001, because two key pollutants (NO2 and fine PM) were exceeding standard limits. Reducing emissions from road transport is one of the most effective ways to improve air quality in Haringey.

Poor air quality can contribute to heart and lung problems (such as asthma), especially in young children whose vital organs are developing.

No-Engine Idling in Haringey - animation

Watch our animation about engine idling produced by students on the College of Enfield, Haringey and North East London (external link) Creative Media course:

Note for iPhone users and Youtube. There is a known bug with iOS and Youtube, Two buttons are read before the player but provide no functionality. We advise that you skip these to access the content.

Haringey Council is one of 31 local authorities who have joined forces to tackle engine idling as part of the Idling Action London project, supported by the Mayor of London. For more information about the project see the Idling Action London website (external link).

As part of the project, the council is offering its primary schools free opportunities to take part in air pollution anti-idling workshops, and is offering free resources and toolkits to businesses and community groups willing to help tackle this avoidable source of air pollution.

What can you do to help tackle engine idling?

If you are a business, school or community group you can sign up to the Engines Off pledge at Idling Action London (External link).

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How can you help stop engine idling in Haringey to improve air quality?

Leaving an engine running unnecessarily while a vehicle is stationary pollutes the air we breathe, causes unnecessary noise and costs drivers money. Switching off your engine is an easy way to help improve air quality and the health of people in Haringey in particular and elsewhere in general. Some tips include:

  •  Turn off your engine when stationary, loading or waiting at the roadside please note that:
    • turning off and restarting an engine causes less pollution than keeping the engine running;
    • turning off your engine could help to reduce asthma, heart disease and lung cancer
    • turning off your engine could help to you save money - idling wastes fuel and money
    • turning off your engine could help to protect your car - idling can increase wear and tear on your engine
  •  Report engine idling to Haringey Council. If you see a vehicle engine idling, report it online here: Report Engine Idling e-form
  •  Spread the word by helping us share our message. Download the below posters to display in your home or business. Engine idling leaflet (PDF, 191KB)
  •  Don’t leave your engine running while dropping children at school. While idling is often the result of traffic, there are some instances, such as waiting for children outside of schools and in traffic jams/long traffic pauses, when idling is not necessary and therefore should be avoided.
  •  If you are a business switching off your engines when stationary
  • Discouraging unnecessary idling by taxis and other vehicles by spreading the word.

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What is Haringey Council doing to tackle engine idling?

The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002 allows for any officer of the council and any other persons to be authorised to stop idling and to issue a fixed penalty notice (FPN) in respect of such an offence committed in its area. The legislation requires authorised officers to warn drivers and allow them to switch off their engines initially before a fixed penalty notice can be served for failing to respond. The FPN fee is set by legislation at £20 increasing to £40 if not paid within 28 days.

In the past, enforcement of the above legislation has never been considered a cost-effective means of reducing air pollution and research has shown that very few FPN have been served in boroughs where the legislation has been adopted.

Like many other local authorities, Haringey has relied on driving behavioural change to reduce idling. New measures are being considered to help reduce emissions from stationary idling vehicles that create pollution on the roads of the borough. The Haringey Air Quality Action Plan 2019-2024 (PDF, 3MB) proposes a range of measures to tackle air quality in Haringey. Measures will include enforcement and education/behaviour change.

Haringey along with 27 other London Boroughs expressed interest in taking part in a pan-London anti-idling project funded by the Mayors Air Quality Fund (MAQF) coordinated by the City of London Corporation and London Borough Camden. The bid was successful.

This project includes:

  1. idling action events in some schools especially
  2. school assemblies and anti-idling banner workshops
  3. development of a communications strategy and advertising campaign
  4. fleet engagement and training and (5) enforcement with assistance from project officers.

Any local community group who would like to participate or volunteer in the Council 'Anti-Idling Campaign' due to start this year should email the pollution team at

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Page last updated:

October 24, 2022

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