Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk to health. A recent report from The Lancet Commission on pollution and health (2017), estimates that within the UK, air pollution is linked to 50,000 deaths each year.

Air pollution contributes to an increased chance of developing lung cancer, increased risk of heart disease and increases in asthma, coughs and bronchitis.

Keeping the engine running while stuck in traffic or waiting to collect someone contributes to an increase of air pollutant levels. Schools, hospitals and bus stops in particular are hotspots, as:

  • Idling is more likely to happen at those locations
  • They have sensitive age groups, such as children and older people

We are running an Anti-idling Campaign with the aim of educating people about air pollution and promoting clean travel behaviours, in partnership with Oxford Friends of the Earth. The campaign will be targeted at schools primarily with the aim of educating children and parents about the dangers of air pollution and advise them to turn their engines off when stationary and adopting sustainable travel behaviours including walking, cycling and public transport.

Drivers in Oxford can make some simple changes to improve air quality in the city:

  • Switch off when waiting or stuck in a jam
  • Switch to cycling or walking for local trips
  • Switch to a bus or train when you can for longer journeys

If you are a school in Oxford and have recurrent problems with Idling during drop off/pick up periods, please contact us directly ( and we will be able to help you run an event at your school.

Campaign materials

We have developed different materials for the campaign, available to download and use.

Download our poster, leaflet, car sticker and campaign logo.

Negative effects of idling vehicles

Did you know?...

A recent study conducted by King’s college in London found that children are particularly at risk from the effect of idling vehicles because:

  • They tend to be more active and therefore breathe more deeply
  • They spend more time outdoors, so they are much more exposed to the effects of air pollution
  • They have smaller lungs, and a higher ventilation rate, which means that they will have more toxic air in their lungs, per unit area of their lungs

And also that…

  • Excessive idling is a waste of fuel and money, resulting in unnecessary negative environmental impact
  • People inside cars are exposed to high levels of air pollution, with children especially at risk of harmful effects
  • An idling vehicle emits 20 times more pollution than one travelling 32 mph
  • For each 1 litre of fuel used by a diesel engine, 2.64 kg of CO2 is released to the atmosphere

You can also view a short film highlighting air quality impact.


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