City of York Council, Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS (01904) 551525


Turn off your engine…and kick the habit!

Kick The Habit

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.*

City of York Council is launching a new hard-hitting campaign to help tackle this problem in York.

The campaign sets out to encourage people to think about the importance of clean air and the impact this has on them, their health and those around them.

It aims to prompt people to switch off their engines when parked (reducing idling) by building support amongst partners and residents (so they can talk about the campaign), and drawing attention to the health risks of continuing to idle.

To support the campaign and help reduce air pollution, support packs are available to download for residents, businesses and schools, including posters and social media messages at:

Cllr Andrew Waller , Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, said: “Let’s work together to ‘Kick the Habit’, turn off our engines and improve the air we all breathe. We all have a responsibility to improve York’s air quality.

Cllr Andrew Waller , Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, promoting the 'Kick the Habit' campaign

Cllr Andrew Waller , Executive Member for Economy and Strategic Planning, promoting the ‘Kick the Habit’ campaign

“All you have to do is turn your engine off when parked up waiting. It’s less polluting to turn your engine off and restart it after a minute (or longer) than to leave your engine running. It’s a small step but one which can really make a big difference. Help to spread this message ahead of Clean Air Day on 20 June 2019 and take part at “

It’s particularly important to reduce idling in the following ‘hotspot’ areas:
• outside of schools
• outside of nurseries and pre-schools
• 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.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne, Deputy Leader of the Council and Executive Member for Transport, said: “This campaign comes when we have an urgent need to cut all types of emissions causing climate change as well as reducing harmful vehicle pollution, which especially affects young people.

“Turning off your engine when parked up and waiting will not only improve air quality, but will also save you money and ultimately save lives.”

Claire Rigden, Headteacher at St Paul’s Nursery School, said: “Reducing the number of cars on the roads around our schools is really important to us, as it keeps our children healthier and safer. Our staff, children and of course superheroes! are putting a lot of work into changing people’s behaviour not just for this great campaign to Kick the Habit and turn off your engines, but for life.”

Superheroes from St Paul’s Nursery have helped us to launch our new hard-hitting campaign ‘Kick the Habit’ to help tackle poor air quality in York
Superheroes from St Paul’s Nursery (That’s York TV)

The campaign supports York’s new Clean Air Zone, which will be introduced in January 2020 and demonstrates the importance of clean air to the council, and the sense of urgency required to make a difference.

At a meeting held on 7 February 2019, City of York Council agreed to enforce stationary vehicles idling on the public highway (including enforcement in council car parks and council land) within the boundary of City of York Council and to support anti-idling campaign work

From June, authorised council officers can issue fixed penalty notices of £20 to drivers who refuse to switch off their engines after being observed idling on the public highway for more than two minutes, rising to £40 if they don’t pay within 28 days.

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.

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

For more details about the enforcement action visit

*According to the Defra clean air strategy 2019