Anti-idling in Hounslow

Anti idle big

The council is committed to preventing unnecessary engine idling in the borough to help lower vehicle emissions, improve local air quality and protect public health. Following a public consultation which indicated support for further action, idling is now subject to enforcement action across Hounslow.

What is idling?

Idling is the act of leaving a vehicle's engine running while it is stationary. Whilst this is often unavoidable for short periods of time, there are some instances, such as waiting for children outside of schools and in traffic jams, when idling is not necessary.

Why is idling bad?

It results in unnecessary use of fuel, an increase in emissions and can also create a noisy environment for residents, schools and businesses. It is reported that an idling engine can produce up to 150 balloons of harmful exhaust emissions per minute, wastes half a gallon of fuel an hour and is a major contributor to the 9,000 premature deaths across London linked to air pollution (Air Quality News, 2019).

What is being done?

Vehicle Idling Action is a London-wide, education and behaviour change campaign to help reduce localised air pollution caused by motorists who leave their engines running when parked. Hounslow is one of 28 local authorities working to educate road users. This project builds on the success of a pilot project in the City of London and is being funded by the Mayor's Air Quality Fund. Further details of the work being done by the council to improve air quality can be found in the new Air Quality Action Plan

Can I be fined for idling?

Although the Council is committed to raising awareness to change behaviour in the long term and educate through signage, it also has an enforcement role. As outlined in the cabinet report, any driver of a motor vehicle parked on the highway who refuses to switch off their engine if asked by a Civil Enforcement Officer can be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

The charge to the motorist is £60, but if this is paid within 14 days it is reduced to £30.

How can I help?

If driving is unavoidable, be mindful and turn off your engine when stationary, loading or waiting at the roadside. It reduces pollution, protects your health and can save you money. You can also help by spreading the word and raising the profile of anti-idling by becoming an Air Quality Champion.


With thanks to the Mayor of London for his kind permission to utilise Idling Action materials.