What is idling?

Idling is when your vehicle’s engine is running but it’s not moving. You may be stopped briefly to drop something off. You might be paused outside a school, office or hospital to pick someone up. Or you may be in standstill traffic. All of these are examples of idling.


Myth Busters

Get involved

In 2020, we’re asking drivers to turn their engines off when stopped to help improve air quality citywide, but especially around air pollution and idling hotspots, such as schools and hospitals. By doing so, we aim to make Bristol a healthier place for everyone.

Volunteers are already involved in no idling events across the country, with 80% of drivers switching off their engines when asked. This simple action has been shown to reduce local air pollution by up to 30% during events.

Click here to sign up to an event and join clean air champions across the city:


Why is idling a problem for Bristol?

When vehicles idle, the engine fumes create air pollution and this can damage people’s health. New research shows that air pollution causes over 300 premature deaths each year in Bristol.

We need to cut down all unnecessary idling, there are ‘idling hotspots’ outside of schools and hospitals, where the most vulnerable people are exposed to harmful air pollution caused by engine fumes.


What should I do?

While idling in some cases cannot be helped, for example – when stopped briefly in traffic, you should avoid leaving your engine running when stopped for a minute or more. You can also look for ways to cut down using your vehicle, for example – walking to pick up children from school. Read more about how air pollution affects our health.


What else is happening?

Many citizens, businesses and schools in Bristol are taking action to improve air quality in the city.


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