Kick the habit campaign smoking exhaust pipe image

Our 'Kick the Habit' campaign helps us play our part in reducing air pollution by:

  • encouraging drivers to switch off their engines when parked up and waiting (idling)
  • reducing the numbers of idling vehicles in York
  • drawing attention to the health risks of continued idling

We want to make people think about the importance of clean air and the impact that air pollution has on our health; the Kick the Habit campaign starts a conversation about air quality in York to prompt a change in the behaviour of drivers in our city.

Kick the Habit campaign supporter pack

Show your support of the Kick the Habit campaign to reduce air pollution by sharing posters, social media messages and downloading resources:

Pledge to support the Kick the Habit campaign

Pledge your support for the campaign; once we know you're taking part we'll keep you updated on other environmental and sustainable travel schemes, if you want us to.

Information provided within your pledge will be covered by the Communications Team Service Privacy Notice.

Air pollution from cars and traffic

A lot of air pollution in cities can come from cars, including taxis. Turning off your engine when parked up and waiting will help to improve air quality.

According to the Defra clean air strategy 2019, over 30,000 deaths a year nationally are linked to air pollution, and children are suffering life-long health problems as a result of poor air quality.

It's particularly important to reduce idling in the following areas:

  • outside of schools
  • outside of nurseries and preschools
  • in residential areas

If driving is essential, remember to turn off your engine when parked up, even if you are going to be waiting in the car.

Whenever you need to wait in a parked or stationary vehicle, remember:

  • it's less polluting to turn your engine off and restart it after a minute (or longer) than to leave your engine running
  • it can take up to an hour for an engine to cool down; turning off your engine but keeping the ignition on and the fan blowing will provide warm air for some time
  • modern batteries need less engine running time to work and don’t need the engine on constantly to keep them charged

Anti-idling enforcement measures

You can help to support the Kick the Habit campaign and to tackle air pollution by keeping aware of traffic conditions and driving responsibly. Remember to turn off your engine when it is suitable or safe to do so.

To help tackle pollution from idling vehicles we'll monitor and enforce against stationary vehicle idling:

  • on the public highway
  • in council car parks
  • on council land

If we see your vehicle idling for more than 2 minutes, you'll be asked to switch it off. As long as you switch off your engine after being asked to do so, you can avoid any further action.

If you refuse to switch your engine off you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20, rising to £40 if not paid within 28 days.

We'll only use enforcement as a last resort, if you refuse to switch your engine off when asked.

Exceptions to anti-idling enforcement

We understand that stationary vehicles sometimes need to keep their engines on.

Having your engine on whilst driving in a queue of traffic isn't an offence but if you know you're likely to be delayed by more than a minute it's still worth switching your engine off. Level crossings are a particularly good place to switch off your engine whilst waiting in traffic.

Leaving an engine running to help defrost your windscreen during cold weather is also acceptable. You should never leave a vehicle unattended during defrosting and should only keep your engine idling for as long as it takes to make the vehicle safe to drive.

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