Make Richmond upon Thames idle-free

We are committed to making this the cleanest, greenest borough in London but we need your help.

From 1 March, people who refuse to turn off their idling engines when asked will be fined.

Give your support

What is idling?

Idling is where drivers leave their vehicle's engine running while it is stationary. Whilst this can often be the result of traffic there are cases where you should turn your engine off such as:

  • Waiting at level crossings
  • Waiting outside schools or businesses

Car idling produces up to 150 balloons of exhaust emissions per minute containing harmful chemicals like cyanide, Nox and PM2.5 every minute.

Did you know that the Royal College of Physicians say 40,000 deaths a year are linked to air pollution, with car idling being a contributing factor?

Idling facts

  • Too much idling can damage your vehicle
  • Turning off an engine and then restarting after a minute will cause less pollution
  • Even modern diesel engines don’t need more than a few minutes to warm up in cold weather
  • Idling for an hour can waste half a gallon or more of fuel
  • You do not need to keep your engine running to stay warm - your engine will stay warm for 30-60 minutes after switching the engine off

Switch off or face a fine

Drivers who are caught 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 they will be fined.

The rules are laid out in section 42 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 which enforces rule 123 of the High Way Code.

You can make a difference

By turning off your car you can:

  • Improve the air quality inside and outside your car
  • Reduce pollution
  • Reduce the health risks linked with toxic air like heart disease, lung cancer and asthma
  • Make our streets and level crossings nicer places to walk and cycle around

Get involved

There are several ways you can get involved in our campaign.

Clean Air Day 2019

Thanks to everyone who came down to Richmond Station on 20 June to check out what we had going on for Clean Air Day. Hope you enjoyed the octopus EV, smoothie bike and got loads of handy info from our stand!

Schools competition

Getting our children interested in and knowledgeable about air pollution will help spread the word to parents and other adults that idling their car engines is bad for their health and the environment.

We are running a competition for primary and secondary school students in the borough to raise awareness about the importance of air quality with the opportunity to win £100 voucher to use in a local bike shop.

Primary school children are being asked help design maps describing a 'breathe easy' route to school. These routes could include the best cycle routes, parks and open spaces, public transport, walking, in their community.

We would like secondary school students to create a 30 second video or animation that the Council and local groups, organisations and schools can use on social media regarding car idling, encouraging drivers to turn off their cars.

We are excited to see the creative ideas our children come up with and encourage you to share these with us via our social media channels and email.

Pledge to stop idling

Complete our online form to pledge your support for our campaign.

Business support

Thank you to all of the businesses who are supporting an idle-free Richmond upon Thames.

Volunteer at upcoming anti-idling days

Contact for more information.


837 pledges

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Updated: 23 August 2019