Engine idling - why it's so harmful and what's being doneWe would like to politely request that drivers of vehicles do not leave their engines idling outside school, as some do. This is not only environmentally not a good thing, but it is also bad for everyone’s health, particularly children. It’s also against the law.

Source, the RAC:

The Royal College of Physicians estimate 40,000 deaths a year in the UK are linked to air pollution, with engine idling contributing to this.

Idling means leaving a vehicle’s engine running while it is stationary.

While this is often because of everyday traffic, there are some instances – such as waiting for children outside schools and sitting in total gridlock – when idling is not necessary and should be avoided.

Idling increases the amount of exhaust fumes in the air.

These fumes contain a number of harmful gasses including carbon dioxide, which is bad for the environment and contributes towards climate change, as well as a range of other harmful gasses including nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons which are linked to asthma and other lung diseases.

Diesel vehicles are thought to be one of the biggest contributors to the problem.

Rule 123 of The Highway Code looks at ‘The Driver and the Environment’. It states that drivers must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road.

Some local authorities charge a £20 fixed penalty notice (FPN) for emission offences and stationary idling under The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (England) Regulations 2002. There’s potential for the fine to increase to £801.