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Make Richmond upon Thames idle-free

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

People who refuse to turn off their idling engines when asked will be fined.

Sign the pledge

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.


Our children should be able to live, learn and play in an environment which is clean and healthy.

We are encouraging all schools in the borough to sign the anti-idling pledge. Once signed, you will receive a large banner to display on your school fence to show your support.

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 environment. We have created an information pack to help.

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.

Report an idling vehicle

Illegal parking and idling vehicles can be reported by calling 020 8744 0462 from 7am to 7pm. The enforcement team will then contact the officer in the area to attend as soon as possible.


5059 pledges

View the pledges

Updated: 29 November 2022

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