Engine idling

Help us reduce engine idling in Trafford

The Council is dedicated to improving air quality across the borough. Dirty air from our vehicles can have an impact on everyone’s health, but one way of making a positive difference is to not leave your vehicle engine idling.

What is engine idling?

Idling is where drivers leave their engine running while their vehicle isn’t moving. Often this is difficult to avoid because your car may be sat in traffic, or at traffic lights. However, you should turn your engine off when you’re waiting for more than a few seconds, for example:

  • When waiting outside a school/business/hospital/bus stop, or other place where you’re picking up or dropping someone off.
  • When waiting at a level crossing.

Reasons to stop idling

  • You’ll make the air healthier – by not idling you’re reducing the pollution caused by car emissions. These pollutants can pose a risk to people’s health, with links to asthma, heart disease, bronchitis and even cancer.  Find out more about making the air we all breathe cleaner at cleanairgm.com
  • You’re helping the environment – switching off your engine prevents carbon dioxide from being released into the air.
  • You’ll save money - idling for just 10 seconds wastes more petrol than restarting the engine.
  • Too much idling can be bad for your engine.


Turning your engine off and on again doesn’t damage your engine, drain the battery or waste fuel. In fact, it is much better for the health of your engine than idling. Idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.

The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. Modern engines don’t need more than a few minutes to warm up as you drive. Leaving the engine running when you’re parked up can actually increase wear and tear.

Engines will stay warm for 30-60 minutes after switching off, so you needn’t worry about your heater going cold, and stopping and starting doesn’t affect the lifespan of modern engines.

Idling for an hour can waste half a gallon or more of fuel. Think of the amount of money you’re wasting over the course of a year. It’s also bad for your engine and can mean higher maintenance costs.

For further information on Engine Idling and Air Quality in Trafford please contact environmental.protection@trafford.gov.uk