Parked Up and Leaving the Engine Running Law and Fines

Most of us have seen them – drivers sitting in their car waiting whilst keeping the engine running. Are the drivers cold and have the heater on or perhaps they’re hot and are using the air con?

Who knows, but what ever the weather, there’s always those that simply can’t be bothered to turn the engine off. It seems particularly those of diesel engines that appear unable to find the off switch, with their loud clattering engine kicking out a stink to anyone walking past.

So why do drivers of diesel cars keep the engine running? There are some theories from letting the turbo idle so to cool down; allowing oil to circulate in the engine; or indeed to save wear on the glow plugs or starter motor.

Essentially though, it’s all nonsense. It’s annoying for pedestrians walking through this wall of toxic stench, for residents dealing with noise and pollution and it’s not too great for the environment either.

Modern engines whether diesel or petrol are perfectly capable of being turned off immediately after stopping without any damage occurring. In fact most modern vehicles now come with start / stop technology to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. But what about the legalities of not turning off?

Is it Illegal to Sit in Car with Engine Running?

On a public road, it indeed is illegal to sit in your car whilst keeping the engine running within the UK. The Highway Code states:

‘You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road’. Generally, if the vehicle is stationary and is likely to remain so for more than a couple of minutes, you should apply the parking brake and switch off the engine to reduce emissions and noise pollution.

Parked up with your engine running law and fines
Waiting in your car with the engine running can cause detrimental effects the health of some individuals

However it is permissible to leave the engine running if the vehicle is stationary in traffic or for diagnosing faults.’

Is There a Fine?

A fixed penalty notice under Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) Regulations 2002 of £20 can be issued by Parking Enforcement Officer (Traffic Warden). This can rise to £40 if it is not paid within the time specified on the penalty notice. Fixed penalty notices are dealt with via local councils.

Are There any Exemptions?

A Parking Enforcement Officer should use discretion and will in the first instance, will ask the driver to turn off their engine. If refused, the officer may issue a penalty notice. This legislation covers all vehicles on public roads including buses, taxis and private cars.

This law does not apply to vehicles traveling in slow moving traffic due to congestion; vehicles stopped at traffic lights; vehicles that are undergoing repair or being tested and where a vehicle engine is on to defrost a windscreen.

Does it Use More Fuel to Keep Restarting?

As modern engines become more emission and fuel efficient, restarting uses less fuel. Roughly every 10 minutes of vehicle idling costs at least one-tenth of a litre in wasted fuel.

Is This a Reasonable Law?

Air pollution, particularly in cities can affect the health of many. Exhaust emissions contain a range of air pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter.

Whilst emissions from stationary vehicles represent a small contributor to the overall levels of air pollution, they can be of concern to individuals with health concerns such as asthma and other respiratory conditions.

How do I Remain Within the Law?

There’s no specific guide, more common sense. If you are waiting and parked in your vehicle for 30 seconds or more, turn off your engine.

116 thoughts on “Parked Up and Leaving the Engine Running Law and Fines”

  1. Jane Legge

    I find it very annoying when I see people parked up and not only polluting the air but also waste of fuel and increasing the global warming for no good reason !Perhaps it would be a good idea if it was advertised more that it was illegal and perhaps £20 fine increased and have voluntary members of the public who could administer on the spot fines .
    I think it should be illegal in car parks too if it’s not already.

  2. I couldn’t agree more Jane!
    Seems to be drivers of diesel vehicles that have trouble finding the off switch the most. Fortunately electric vehicles will be getting more popular soon, though the government should be doing more to promote them.

  3. richard

    I go running along stokes bay and there are a couple of car parks. Often some people are parked up and running their engine so how does the law apply in this case?

  4. It can get annoying having to breath in car exhaust fumes, particularly when it’s avoidable. The law applies when the engine is left running ‘unnecessarily’. That in itself to open to interpretation, though in reality, the people in your car park likely have no need to keep the vehicle running.

  5. Mark

    This seems to be a witch hunt against Diesel engine vehicle drivers if want to pay for me to have a hybrid that’s fine but we’re not al Ritch

  6. Mark

    What about when we’re having snow and freezing cold weather am I meant to freeze to death then

  7. It’s not a witch hunt, it’s just that most people really don’t want to breath in toxic fumes when it’s otherwise avoidable. And for most, if you dress appropriately, you shouldn’t get cold. Or you could turn your car off and go for a walk etc…But the law does state ‘unnecessarily’ – which generally means those that simply cannot be bothered to turn off their engine.

  8. Bleeding Obvious

    Yes

  9. Jim

    No! It applies to public highways!

  10. Roger

    Where I live very few people seem to be aware of this law. Many sit in their cars with the aircon on eating or talking on their mobiles. Having been hit for asking someone to turn their radio down I am loathe to ask anyone to turn their engine off. I risk verbal abuse if not physical abuse.

  11. Hello Roger,
    People are either unaware of the law or simply couldn’t care less. The problem with the UK and ‘laws’, is that many of them are unenforceable. There’s not enough resources to deal with minor offences anymore, so you have to wonder why politicians spend time and money making such laws in the first instance. The good news is that electric cars will gain popularity over the next few years.

  12. DEAN MCCORMICK

    Mark, this is about carcinogenic fumes. By the looks of your spelling, you’ll have to look that word up. It’s uneducated people like you that are killing the rest of us.

  13. DEAN MCCORMICK

    Mark – You could be ‘considerably richer’ by switching your engine off when stationary. You’ll probably need to look up the word ‘stationary’. Irresponsible/ unaware people like you shouldn’t be allowed diesel vehicles (or petrol for that matter).

  14. Dean E McCormick

    Amen to that response ‘Driving Test Tips’.

  15. Dean E McCormick

    No! You’re supposed to not drive in a t-shirt in the winter and rely on a polluting engine to warm your body..

  16. E Robinson

    So when fifth gear did a study on the pro and cons of stop/start technology during city driving, the test car’s own stop/start system reverted to leaving the engine running because of a low battery state? how many cars have a voltmeter on the dash? how does the driver know that the next time he turns the ignition off, their car wont restart? car batteries discharged to low levels is no good for them (hence why the stop/start feature disabled itself on the test car) and this article claims there is no detriment to your vehicle?

  17. Hello E Robinson,
    The issue here isn’t stopping in traffic, it’s where people are parked up for several minutes and leave their engine running.

  18. Celina Saxon

    May I ask… what about if you live next to an MOT testing garage in a residential area? The exhaust fumes are terrible and we have to keep our windows and doors closed while they’re testing. They’ve only had to do this (run the engine for half an hour straight) from this year as the test parameters have changed. Do the new testing techniques contravene air pollution laws perhaps? Where would I find this out? I’ve been googling for a while now with no luck.

  19. Hello Celina,
    You would make complaints in relation to air pollution directly with your local council. They may try and fob you off with a letter, so it would be best to speak to your local councilor in person. It’s always best if possible to have some data at hand, such as how often this occurs and for how long. Perhaps a video or some other form of evidence if this is possible all helps. The testing station may not be using appropriate exhaust extraction and filter systems.

  20. Laura

    I don’t think you’ll actually freeze to death, you’ll probably be a little bit cold. Driving your car heats it up twice as much as running the engine whilst parked up.

  21. Danny

    You could leave your engine idling all day and wouldn’t even see the fuel line move down a single notch. If its not revving its not doing much of anything other than giving itself enough power to not cut out.

    I came on here to see if i can leave the car running when in a parking bay and as it specifically says ‘on a public road’ it appears that I can. Good luck to anyone listening to the radio with their engine off, you run the risk of leaving yourself stranded with a flat battery.

    The fact that this is even a thing when we still have smokers hanging about doctors, hospital and shop doorways really shows people want any excuse for a moan.

  22. In an urban environment, emissions can often remain for longer so it’s really about trying to reduce them if at all possible and being a little considerate to others around you. It’s really not too much trouble turning the engine off is it?

  23. Dave

    If you turn your turbo engine straight off the oil will fry in the bearings.

  24. If you’ve been driving hard around Silverstone Race Circuit for several laps then immediately switch off your engine you might have problems with your turbo, but after general driving around town you can turn off right away no problem. I’m pretty sure there would be turbos constantly breaking around the world if this wasn’t the case.

  25. Ivor Josephson

    Nobody expects that, but a wise driver will in winter (a) be adequately dressed in case of an emergency (b) possibly have a blanket or similar in their car.

  26. Linda

    Lol – so true! Parked up ATM, and had engine running. Couple in car parked in bay next to me complained. I obliged, and switched off. However, they have their windows and doors open, puffing away on their carcinogenic sticks! Pot – kettle – black methinks! 😁

  27. Chris

    I’ve noticed a lot of drivers sit in their vehicles, engine rumbling away whilst they have their eyes fixed to their mobile phone, this is by itself an offence whilst in charge of a vehicle, that coupled with unnecessary pollution, what is wrong with these people?, Is it a sign of a poor education?, Fines should be a minimum of £100, maybe we could all breath a little better if more fines were handed out.

  28. Dean

    You are quite unreasonable, this law is unfair and unjust, it puts people, especially in winter times, in quite difficult position. This law doesn’t allow people to heat them self if waiting, one issue is if you are battling pollution of cars sitting idle for no reason, totally other issue is witch haunt we have here, I would believe that this is a fine gathering tool without people benefit in mind

  29. I’ve got a blood clot from my knee to my rib cage & have lost the main return blood vessel from my legs and as a result my circulation is almost non existent and im always cold even in room temperature of 20° being in temperatures below 10° start to cause me pain but as long as all you eco warriors & curtain twitchers are happy guess that’s all you care about, problem with this is it excludes people who like myself will physically suffer.
    People like all you idiots make me sick.

  30. So that ‘idiot’ who has respiratory problems who’s forced to breath in your toxins makes you sick? Charming. Eco warriors is one thing, local pollution is another. Pollution from vehicles is detrimental to health and is making people sick. What’s needed is a little consideration for others – if you don’t really need to keep your car running then switch it off. If like yourself it’s for health reasons, then that’s a different matter.

  31. Darren

    Dean , I must say it’s about educating people not putting them down or discriminating against them because there education was not as good as yours .
    With that previous remark you have just shown you not as well educated as you previously thought

  32. Lesley

    Totally agree- I live next to a school where parents arrive 20-30 minutes before pick-up and sit with the engines running. None are aware of the laws regarding this and most do not give a damn – it is their kids future they are helping to ruin. I have contacted the local council many times – they do not care either

  33. Personally I think there should be a no cars law around schools (where possible and where people are otherwise able to walk). Whilst it’s a legal requirement for children to attend school, it’s not a requirement for them to inhale toxic fumes on a daily basis.

  34. John

    I wasn’t aware of this and thought it may have belonged in the “urban myth” category but after doing some research I see that cooling the engine for about 2 minutes at idle is recommended. And that’s with normal driving, not gunning around. I’ve been educated, thanks Dave.

  35. It does belong in the urban myth section. Modern engines, even those with turbos are tested in various situations and temperatures. Under normal driving, switching your engine off right away is perfectly fine unless you really like wasting fuel. The last time I checked, I didn’t see several broken vehicles sitting at refueling stations where unsuspecting motorists inadvertently switched off their engine without letting it cool first.

  36. Guy Tibbert

    Author presumably has not the beginning of an idea that a turbo charger can be at almost yellow heat when operating – and to leave a glowing turbo charger that uses oil bearings to “bake down” will destroy it.

    NON turbo cars – fine – but engines with powerful turbochargers MUST be able to cool down while the engine is running, to keep the oil bearing from turning to carbon.

    Poor quality “article”.

  37. Think about it, all new vehicles come with a warranty. If this was such an issue, all manufactures would state that you must allow your (turbo) engine to cool before switching off. Think of all the damaged turbos they would need to replace. If you’ve been driving hard, then maybe, but under normal driving no. I’m talking about normal cars with normal turbos. Plus it’s just not practical to wait for a few minutes for everyone before switching off.

  38. Anonymous

    Never heard something so ridiculous in my life, Haha! I’m not one for breaking the law, but I can see why people of the UK become terrorists/carry out attacks on the government. The government, and the law of this country is just totally all wrong. Certainly wont be turning my car off straight away. Turbo timer.

  39. Terrorists? What on earth you on about?
    Anyway, you should get an electric car. None of that daft wind blower to cool down. Cheaper to run and faster than that old fossil fuel burner of yours.

  40. Somebody needs to do something about this and am willing to work as a volunteer in my town, schools to stop those people polluting air for our kids future.. just give me a badge and whatever to make me legal and al start tomorrow.. Thanks

  41. Legweak

    Totally agree. It’s currently 26 degrees and my latest MOT said my car had zero emissions. I’m parked on side street waiting to collect my daughter from school and have been asked to switch engine off. I have health problems and can not cope with this heat and am unable to walk to school to collect her so now sat absolutely sweltering and can already feel myself going dizzy despite windows open

  42. But what about other people who have health issues due to or exacerbated by air pollution? It’s an increasing problem. I get your problem, but why should it then become someone else’s problem? Only electric or hydrogen cars have zero emissions.

  43. Paul

    Drive through takeaways should be banned too… all the packaging waste and air pollution while the lazy slobs wait with their engines running for their next meal

  44. Mike Smith

    No, but you’re obviously dumb as you can’t spell the word ‘rich’ correctly!

  45. Laura Burnett

    Put a jumper on!
    I puppy walk for Guide Dogs and am fed up with having to walk through clouds of exhaust , it affects the dogs particularly, and they should not have to deal with this as well as all the other obstacles they come across…..pavement parking.

  46. Peter Thewlis

    Having just been confronted quite aggressively by a local resident where i am sat about it, i admit i had to enquire of him had they actually changed the legislation, he said yes so i immediately switched off my engine, he was very unhappy about me being here with my engine idling, had stopped for a moment to look something up with zero intention of driving with my phone in my hand I know i should had switched off immediately but not thinking about it i just stopped, put the car in park and started looking for what i sought.

    I have zero issue with someone saying in a pleasant manner would i mind switching off but i do take minor umbrage to aggressive behaviour, especially to those who should know better!!

    With regards to modern diesels (I have two diesel discoverys for personal use and drive a van for my livelihood) the technology is all very good but is it doing more harm than good to those of us around the road networks?
    – stop/start – no issue
    – DPF – Microparticulate pollution which our lungs cannot filter out and may be a major cause of the current spate of COPD issues
    – adblue – how is vapourising ammonia derived from pigs urine good for A, the environment and b, the human beings who are near the vehicles exhaust when it is being released into the system and atmosphere??
    – hybrid/full electric – are we not shifting the issue to the power stations and where the national grid isn’t developed enough for the current drawn by the ultra chargers, diesel generators? Also, isn’t the waste from the batteries generally speaking, non-recyclable and the rape of our resources, unsustainable?

    Our lungs have developed to deal with smoke particulate over the millennia since we discovered fire, CO2 is NECESSARY for plants to grow, we are at the lowest recorded levels of CO2 ever at the moment, this planet has sustained life at up to 8% CO2 before now which is pretty toxic to humans but we can easily deal with 2%!

    Rather than attacking this from the current angle, why don’t we actually have a crack at dealing with physically bringing the global temperature down?

    Anyway, enough of my diatribe, have a lovely evening all.

  47. Hi Peter,
    We are at the highest levels of CO2 since over 400,000 years and it’s risen massively within the last few decades. Not sure why you think it’s the lowest levels ever. If it was the lowest ever, we’d be entering another ice age. CO2 absorbs heat, so the more CO2, the hotter it gets.

    The trouble with fossil fuel vehicles is that they’re always going to emit toxic emissions and CO2 regardless of the filters and additives. In terms of mass production and with millions of dollars being pumped into the technology, electric vehicles can only improve. Yes there will be added pressure on the National Grid, but that will evolve with the increase of renewable power generators replacing traditional generators and smart charger systems used at home which will charge vehicles at off-peak. The National Grid will eventually be 100 percent renewable.

    Battery tech is also evolving at a fast rate where Lithium will be substituted for components with a less environmental destructive impact and battery tech is moving towards fully recyclable. There are already many battery alternatives in the works.
    Supercharger networks are also evolving where they take power from the National Grid at a steady rate and store electricity on-site.

    Around 15 percent of all CO2 globally comes from fossil fuel powered vehicles, so in order to bring the temperature down or at least stabilise it, eliminating these vehicles seems one viable way forward.

    You have to remember though that fossil fuel powered vehicles also release toxic emissions (not just the greenhouse gas CO2) that are increasingly becoming an issue for health and respiratory complaints – which is perhaps what the disgruntled resident was offended by.

  48. John

    You wrap up in cold weather. You’ll only freeze to death if you don’t wear warm clothing that keeps you warm.

  49. John

    £20 is absolutely ridiculous and will not under any circumstances deter individuals from turning their engines off. The Environment Agency needs to have the legal enforcement and it’s officers have the similar clout that the US Environmental Protection Agency has. If this was in operation together with a fine based on the value of a car, say 10% of it’s value, then people would have a greater interest in turning their engines off, saving lives and the environment too.

    Like so many successive UK governments, they do not address the health and environmental implications of driving, only realising when its too late of their decisions that they should’ve done something of lasting value.

    We each have a responsibility to turn our engines off at railway level crossings, traffic lights or traffic jams. Think of it this way the next time you’re at a level crossing, traffic lights or jams, and you or someone else fails to turn their engines off, they are effectively contributing/assisting the someone’s death. Extreme, yes, but true in the long term.

  50. Dan

    Just wanted to say a big ‘thank you’ to the author of this article, for the main body of work and the calm, clear and concise way you deal with all questions and comments, including some of the more aggressively posed! Well done!

    I do find some of the posters quite amusing when their argument can be broken down to, ‘everybody is being selfish because they are not letting me do what I want. And what I want to do is be selfish and endanger the lives of countless others’! Did someone say hypocrisy! 😀

    Also, if you are that worried about extremes of temperature (too hot or too cold), perhaps turn your engine off, or it’s only going to get worse!

  51. Thanks Dan. It’s really rather surprising with all that’s going on with the climate and local pollution levels consistently rising, that so many people still couldn’t care less.

  52. Mick

    It’s still illegal even in a car park

  53. Astrid Wright

    Then put a coat on. I had acute myeloid leukaemia, which could have come from diesel fumes, so very annoyed that drivers can’t switch the engine off for a short time.

  54. Ash

    I totally understand and agree with this course of action
    Some laws should be called common sense laws where fines are depending on the situation- I say this because I have myself left engine on at Times for periods because my car is like a second home especially with my son who is non verbal autism – sometimes I’ve been in the car with my 3 kids and air con in extremely hot days or with heating on during winter
    Or sometimes just for the radio to keep him calm – hard to explain the necessary situations but life can be somewhat difficult with special needs – hence why I say the non foxed fines

  55. Stacey

    Ok, so quick question. It says ‘unnecessarily’…
    So I take my car to the garage because of a knock on my car, to be told my shockers need changing, parts ordered, I take my car back tomorrow when the parts arrive.
    Go to my car, and the battery is dead so they jump it for me, tell me not to switch my car off straight away, let it charge a bit or it possibly wont start again. I’m goin to pick my kids up from school anyway, so I pull up, leave the car running a bit and then i get a knock on my window telling me.to turn the engine off (that’s fine, he was polite enough) but i tell him my battery needs charging a bit as it wouldnt start before and if I turn it off, it wont start. I’m just about to leave now anyway. Then he starts getting arsey with me over something I can’t help then and there. Is that classed as me having the engine idling unnecessarily?
    Thanks

  56. This was an unfortunate situation to be in and obviously there are extenuating circumstances, but I think people are just getting fed up with pollution.

  57. JohnM

    Buy a coat

  58. Les Longstaff

    global warming being man made is a con thought up by governments to steal our money. Our planet is actually cooling down at the moment so now the new term is called climate change. Its still a con though.

  59. I always find this climate change denial attitude a strange one. I hope you’re right, but,
    1. What if you’re wrong? Would the smart person take a gamble on something so catastrophic being being fake?
    2. Even if it does all turn out to be fake, what’s the worse that’s going to happen? We massively reduce burning fossil fuels and in turn significantly reduce pollution.
    Pollution, particularly particulates is a major cause of diseases with cities like London regularly above legal limits. If climate warming isn’t on your agenda, then surely reducing pollution is?

  60. Paul

    I got into an altercation with the crew of a scaffolding lorry this morning. Whilst walking my dog along the street I noticed the lorry with three people inside parked up in our street but with the engine running. 10 minutes later, having left the dog at home I was driving past the lorry and noticed the engine was still running. I stopped and asked them politely to turn it off as it was noisy and polluting. They agreed and then as I walked away the engine was turned on again. That’s when the argument started! I took a photo of the front of the vehicle and said I would report them to their business. They got very upset with me and said it was nothing to do with me and that the engine had been running to build up pressure for the dropside pneumatic. I understand that this might be the case but don’t think it would need 10-15 minutes. Can anybody advise?

  61. Did the lorry have a pneumatic arm? I’m no professional on this but I’ve never been told that a lorry needs to be parked up with the engine running for 15 minutes before it’ll work. I understand that the engine needs to run during operation, but I would think these people are simply being inconsiderate to local residents.

  62. Paul

    That’s my opinion too! Wanted to make sure I got my facts right before I took it up with their boss though.

  63. It is not illegal to leave engine running while parked or on public highway,provided the driver is in the car.! It is only illegal if the engine is left running unattended.
    Also,have some sympathy and respect for your engine and starting system, no machine or any appliance likes to be stopped and started. You will use more fuel and more wear on engine by repeatedly stopping and starting it. Also pretty brutal to the battery,you risk plate shedding.
    The stop start system fitted to modern cars will not save fuel,but is to reduce pollution,which I am sure it does to a very small degree.

  64. RS, please refer to the Highway Code:
    You MUST NOT leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.
    There is no sympathy for an ‘engine’ when sulphur dioxide and particulate matter is being released where there’s growing evidence that it’s contributing to asthma, heart disease and even lung cancer.
    People are entitled to breath in clean air. Switch it off!!

  65. Driver

    Can you please read the full text of rule 123 in the latest Highway Code and also refer to section 98 of the construction of vehicles act 1986 where rule 123 is taken from :-
    98.—(1) Save as provided in paragraph (2), the driver of a vehicle shall, when the vehicle is stationary, stop the action of any machinery attached to or forming part of the vehicle so far as may be necessary for the prevention of noise.
    (2) The provisions of paragraph (1) do not apply—
    (a)when the vehicle is stationary owing to the necessities of traffic;

    (b)so as to prevent the examination or working of the machinery where the examination is necessitated by any failure or derangement of the machinery or where the machinery is required to be worked for a purpose other than driving the vehicle; or

    (c)in respect of a vehicle propelled by gas produced in plant carried on the vehicle, to such plant.

  66. (b)… or where the machinery is required to be worked for a purpose other than driving the vehicle.

    I don’t think idling because you want the turbo to cool down or that you’re a little cold constitutes as acceptable. As pollution levels increase, harsher idling laws will only do the same.

    Stopping of engine when vehicle stationary
    12.—(1) An authorised person who has reasonable cause to believe that the driver of a vehicle that is stationary on a road is committing a stationary idling offence may, upon production of evidence of his authorisation, require him to stop the running of the engine of that vehicle.

    (2) A person who fails to comply with a requirement under paragraph (1) shall be guilty of an offence and be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 3 on the standard scale.

  67. Andrew Leonard

    If you are stark naked in the car, you may have a case. Else wrap up warm and do the right thing and switch off.

  68. Ray

    When was the last time we had snow and freezing cold weather? Turn your engine off.

  69. Karen

    Hi all. I was wondering if anyone knows the rules about leaving an engine running on a private access road (incidentally the car owner doesnt own the road and shouldnt be using it). He comes up to my neighbour’s house twice a week, parks almost directly outside my house and leaves the car running unattended for around 15 mins each time. There seems to be no firm rules about parking on private land, but its not his land! Im asthmatic and would like him stopped from doing this but dont know where I would stand legally. I would be very grateful for any help!

  70. Hi Karen
    As far as I’m aware there are no laws that dictate it being illegal to leave a car unattended with the engine running on private land, though I’m not 100 percent sure on that. Are you able to ask your neighbour to ask the person to switch their vehicle off?

  71. maggi

    i see it all the time and have just told a police officer in a police van who was sat there with the engine running looking at her phone – she told me she was charging her phone and that there were bigger things going on in the world – i told her it was illegal and she was adding to the pollution – it didnt do any good though

  72. Isabel Freeman

    I live next to a BT yard-this is my first garden weather year. Not only do i have them smoking next to my fence but a few of them leave the engine running so they can have music on REALLY LOUD. I have asked one worker to turn the engine off-driver was in the office but he got him and it was turned off-reluctantly. What are my rights here?

  73. Hi Isabel.
    The Highway Code Rule 123 does state that you must not leave an engine running unnecessarily on a public road. But it doesn’t sound like this is a public road that they’re parked on. If they leave their engines on frequently, I would contact your local council and explain that they’re causing unnecessary noise and pollution. Hopefully the council could contact them and have a word. Also, try and find out who the person in charge of this place and write them a letter. If it’s ignored, take it to the person in charge of them. Making your complaints heard on social media (write on their own page) is also a good way of getting their attention.

  74. Audi tech

    What a crock
    I’m a
    Master technition, a fully trained and professional engine builder

    The worst thing you can do to an engine is just turn it off it starves the bearings and seals of oil while the engine rotated under centrifugal force there’s no oil lubricating the parts this causes all manner of problems in the future

    Anyone on here who has a turbo charged car should always let there car idle from start up for 2 mins and also from coming back from a drive
    NEVER EVER JUST TURN THE ENGINE OFF

    I would rather swallow a £20 fixed fine and upset all you sad witch hunters and idiots knowing my engine life is being preserved than you lot sticking your nose in

    Get a life you bunch of idiots

  75. These ancient fossil fuel burners have advanced to such a point that for the average driver, switching off right away causes no harm.
    If you’ve been on a track day, or running the engine hard, then you might want to leave it running for a bit before switching off, or if you’re sensible, just run the last mile or two at normal speed to let it cool.
    If you were an Audi master technician, you might be wondering about all this engine stop start technology.
    With all these engines stopping at lights all the time, there must be turbos exploding all over the place with vehicle manufacturers screaming out with all the engine replacements they have to do.
    Strangely enough, all the turbos are just fine and that’s because there is sufficient technology in place to keep them sufficiently cooled, be it with water cooled or oil cooled.

    If you’re an average driver (which most people are) then there’s NO NEED TO LEAVE YOUR ENGINE RUNNING TO COOL IT DOWN. You’re just wasting fuel and adding to pollution.
    If you’ve been driving the engine hard and I mean racing type hard, then then if you have any sense, you leave a little time before stopping the car to drive at a moderate speed to cool the engine off.
    Either way, there’s NO NEED TO KEEP THE ENGINE RUNNING WHEN YOU STOP.
    But as an ‘Audi master technician’ (not), you would know this.

    If you stop next to me, please have a little respect and switch off. I really don’t want to breath in your toxic junk.

  76. blackbelt

    You should have more care about people’s health and the environment, Mark. Wear a thick coat if you’re cold…it’s a ‘no brainer’. And whilst you’re relaxing in your cab why don’t you brush up on your English spelling:( So, unfortunately, It’s bad Marks all round for you (until you educate yourself on eco matters at least)!!

  77. L Evans

    To whom can I complain of deliver lorry leaving engine running for a long period, up to 20 minutes, when parked in loading bay of supermarket which is in resiendial area

  78. I would contact the supermarket and complain about it. Ask them to tell delivery drivers to switch off. If they fail to do so, tell them you will be taking it to the council.

  79. Norma

    £20 ought to be £200!
    I politely asked a neighbour to turn their unattended car engine off n the partner told his wife to ignore me so I turned it off myself – guess who else was upset the selfish husband
    Vehicle owners think they can dismiss pedestrians

  80. Norma

    That’s disappointing
    So even police think it’s ok to break the law
    Not setting a v good example
    People like this don’t care about spreading a virus too
    Society needs to gain more respect

  81. Neil Martyn

    In reply to Danny
    At 20 ml per minute, idling for 24 hours uses 28.8 litres, which on my car would be 4 bars on the fuel gauge. Hope this helps!

  82. Neil Martyn

    In reply to Guy Tibbert.
    I have a car with a Renault dCi turbo diesel: I’ve checked the driver’s handbook and there is no warning about this. Should I complain to the dealership?

  83. Irena Pribisevic

    In reply to Jane Legge.
    Indeed. I’ve just been outside to (politely) inform a van driver that it is illegal to sit in his parked vehicle with the engine running. He’s been there for at least 20 minutes, having found a nice shady spot beneath the trees to have his lunchbreak. This in the 30+ degree heat we are currently experiencing and apparently oblivious to the fact that the diesel exhaust emissions (and engine noise) might be bothersome to the residents in the very quiet, residential road. His reply was that actually it is NOT illegal… Oh dear, what can we do? He did, however, turn it off – possibly for fear of repercussions from his work supervisors – it was a company van. for a well known firm.

  84. Graham Ludgate

    In reply to Jane Legge.

    Completely agree
    When I have advised people regarding this sat in their Discoveries, large Volvos etc they look at as if you are mad

    Along with cars blatantly driving around with stupid personal number plates with wrong font and moved digits to read such things as Bone head 1 this ignorance really gets me in the vigilante mood

    With all the technology available today there should be a site to upload the offenders

    It would save the authorities lots of money and also be an income generator

    Citizen clampers?

  85. Nubley

    In reply to Jane Legge.

    I’ve just watched my neighbour get into her 4×4, start the engine, get her phone out and start playing with it. That was 15 minutes ago and she’s still there texting away or whatever. Admittedly it’s quite warm today but she could just wind the windows down. It’s just pig ignorant and very annoying.

  86. Tez Youll

    In reply to DEAN MCCORMICK.

    so you will help them with the huge cost of an electric car them. If your answer is NO then your post is irrelevant, and can be looked upon as simply spouting rubbish….

  87. Tez

    In reply to Ray.

    Here in the north we have weather well below freeing EVERY Winter.. so that answers your question Ray.. But in general I agree with you except in a private run Pay and park here the Highway code dose not apply and there is no signage which covers that subject. Of course you must still pay your parking charge..

  88. tez

    In reply to L Evans.

    If it was a freezer lorry then he NEEDS to keep the engine running if not then you are totally correct.

  89. Robert Vanyo

    What good is on law what isn’t enforced at all! What good is the Police, if they rather supporting illegal parking, engine idling, mobile phones use and them self are breaking the same laws? In cities or towns this is rather embarrassing for them to giving a finds for family members or friend, and it is growing up to the corruption, what is very comfortable for them as a second income, what can buy some extras , tattoos, drugs or body building chemicals.
    Where is the law taken easy, there is anarchy supported.

  90. Robert Vanyo

    In reply to Driving Test Tips.

    Well, the local Councils aren’t interested in such observations, and the Local Police are doin* the same, or they doesn’t know about this law, or they can’t charge they family or friends with such find. The corruption in Britain is to big.

  91. Shippie

    I have a vehicle park outside my house on wed/thurs evening at midnight with the e gine running and two occupants sat in it for an hour or so ….this time of the night the constant engine sound is loud and annoying and has woke my child up on several occassions especially when they have the music playing…what can I do !?

  92. Hi Shippie.
    This may constitute as a breach of peace, particularly as it’s during unsociable hours. You could take their vehicle registration and contact your local police branch for advice.

  93. Sally

    In reply to Jane Legge.

    Hi Jane, indeed very annoying, & should be more advertise. My neighbour parks up in our cal de sac, leaves his truck running while he goes indoors for a cuppa tea. The van is so old & battered, no-one will ever nick it. Just sits there with its old deiseal engine running, kicking out fumes through our windows. He doesn’t even live in our street, his garden backs onto it. We should take a leaf from America were offenders can be reported.

  94. Sally

    In reply to Graham Ludgate.

    Hi Graham
    In America you can film & report the offender. The offender gets fine, the reporter gets paid. Vigilantes are making big bucks.

  95. Dave

    In reply to Danny.

    You’re the first person I’ve seen on this thread with even an ounce of sense. Bravo.

  96. Catherine Govan

    I have to put up with someone sitting in there car every night for over an hour revving his engine and not going anywhere he just does it so he can sit and smoke in his car and always seems to be after 12 at night when my kids are in bed and he has woken them a few times , sounds like his exhaust has a hole in it with how loud it is but this happens every single night and sometimes he comes out at about 2/3 in the morning and does the same again all for a smoke ,, it drives me nuts cause I can’t even open my bedroom window or my kids windows at night because his car sits right outside my house on the road with the exhaust pointed straight at my house

  97. Paul

    In reply to Mark.

    Why would you need to sit in your car with the engine running .Why can’t you switch off your engine ,get out the car and do whatever you came to do?

  98. Hi Catherine.
    This sounds like antisocial behavior, particularly at this time of night. I would suggest taking their registration number and contact your local police branch.

  99. VoiceOfReason

    That law itself uses sensible albeit vague language, it talks about not leaving the car ‘unattended’ rather than you having to be sat in it. Also it only applies to ‘unnecessary’ running of the engine, so for the driver who was advised not to stop the engine due to a recent flat battery, I would suggest this is necessary use. The same would be true in winter conditions where the engine is being run to defrost the car, this is necessary use.

    As with all laws, there’s a grey area where perhaps the weather is hot and the engine is being used for air conditioning. Maybe if it’s only the driver in the car, they are healthy and the weather is only slightly warm, this would not be necessary use. However if there was an elderly person in the car, it was a significantly hot day and the elderly person was suffering from the heat, this could be necessary use. For such situations, nobody on this forum can categorically say what is legally ok and what is not. When on a Public Highway, the route would be for an ‘Authorised Person’ to request the engine be turned off. The driver would then have to refuse, the Authorised Person would have to issue a fixed penalty notice and at that point the driver could either accept it, or refuse it and choose to explain their actions in a court, which in turn would decide if the use was ‘necessary’ or not.

    There are then the situations mentioned where people are clearly being anti-social and regularly running engines unnecessarily for extended periods of time, e.g. for hours at night, etc. In this case it is a shame there is not enough enforcement and I agree with other suggestions that it is probably best going the route of anti-social behaviour complaints rather than using this rarely enforced law.

    Regarding starting and stopping engines, the law already excludes waiting in traffic or at traffic lights. People seem to be in 2 camps here of ‘stopping the engine does no harm at all’ or ‘it causes wear on engines and you should idle diesel engines for ~2 mins before turning them off’. The reality is as expected, a blend of both of these. Cars are electromechanical systems and every time you start the engine, it’s causing a small degree of wear to the battery, starter, solenoid, mechanical starting gears, etc and potentially interrupting the car’s processes such as diesel particle filter cleaning, etc which are not desirable. Leaving the engine running is creating additional pollution, using fuel and causing some wear on the engine, also not desirable. Engine design has improved and stopping a turbo engine without an idle period, after average town driving is considered acceptable, although leaving the engine running for a couple of minutes most likely provides a small benefit to the engine. Personally if I have been driving normally, I just turn the engine off as soon as I park up. If I have been pulling a heavy trailer up steep hills or travelling at speed, I may leave the engineer running for a minute or two, assuming this is practice and not inconveniencing anyone. I.e. it’s not outside a school, someone’s open window or in the early hours of the morning, etc.

    Most modern cars will have start-stop technology fitted anyway, which will automatically stop the engine when the car’s computer deems it unnecessary to run it. If it’s too cold, or too hot, or the battery is low or the car is running a DPF regeneration, etc then the car will keep the engine running.

    I would suggest taxi drivers are the best place to look for an example – they are on the road a lot, so exposed to the pollution, their cars are their livelihood and fuel costs have a direct impact on their profit as does maintenance from replacing batteries and starter motors, etc.

  100. Hi VoiceOfReason.
    Some very good points made there. I would extend a little on the diesel point, in that for many years, diesel cars have been mis-sold, initiated by Labour and still mis-sold by dealers some 20 years later. It’s only very recently that ‘dirty diesel’ has come to the forefront. But in reality, for the vast majority of people who use their vehicle for short, start / stop journeys, a diesel engine is completely inappropriate for this. The engine barely has enough time to reach optimal operating temperature and simply results in clogging the particulate filter.

  101. tutu

    In reply to Driving Test Tips.

    me thinks you have electric car and this entitles you to preach to us less mortals.

  102. VoiceOfReason

    In reply to Driving Test Tips.

    Thanks and yes that’s a good point too. I think it originally came from good intentions, where fundamentally diesel has more energy in it than petrol, therefore you can get more miles per gallon from diesel which translates into lower CO2 emissions per journey – which was historically the sole focus of ‘emissions’.

    As you say, short journeys are a problem and owners of diesel cars with particle filters can find themselves in the awful position of having to drive otherwise unnecessary A road / motorway journeys just to prevent the particle filters from clogging.

    Also the emissions of small particles from diesel exhaust and NOx has only relatively recently become taken into account when looking at emissions.

    Ironically, now that the public perception of ‘dirty diesel’ is becoming more widespread, the latest (cira 2016 on Euro 6b) diesel engines have actually become really quite clean. That’s both relative to older diesels and petrol engines too.

    For example particulate limits for 90’s diesels when emissions limits came in were 0.14 g/km but limits are down to just 3% of this at 0.0045 g/km since 2013 (the same limit for petrols). CO limits for new diesels are twice as strict as for new petrols (0.5 for diesel and 1.0 for petrol). Pre 2000, NOx was not limited for diesels and quite a problem, post 2000 it was limited to 0.5 and from ~2016 it’s now limited to just 16% of that earlier level = 0.08, only slightly higher than the limit for petrols of 0.06.

    So now the CO, NOx and particulate emissions are all strictly limited for diesel cars and assuming manufacturers aren’t cheating anymore, the fact that diesel has more energy in and hence less CO2 is generally produced for a given journey (i.e. better mpg) becomes more relevant again.

    As you say though, none of this helps for either type of car on short journeys, with diesels suffering particularly badly (if you excuse the pun…)

  103. Where I live, I can’t charge it, so actually no. Have a small petrol car. I do however use a push bike where ever I can, not just for environmental reasons but for fitness too. I would have an electric car if I could charge it though. It’s not preaching. If some people just had a little more respect of others and switched off when they don’t need it, then everyone else wouldn’t have to breath in their toxic fumes.

  104. VoiceOfReason

    In reply to tutu.

    I think electric cars are a bit like vaping, yes it’s better than smoking but it’s not perfect.

    Manufacturers, car dealers and politicians like to use words like ‘zero emission’ and mislead motorists, in much the same way they did with diesels when they were ‘the answer’. Zero emission is wrong for 2 reasons. Firstly, as already pointed out here, electric vehicles just shift the emissions to power stations, noting that the UK generates the majority of its electricity from fossil fuels. Secondly, the engine is not the only source of emissions from a car, the tyres and brakes form a significant part of the particulate emissions from a vehicle.

    Electric vehicles also have a limited lifespan battery that uses rare elements such as Cobalt and Lithium which are an issue both in getting them out of the ground and recycling once the batteries are no longer operational. Are we also going to see a great number of early electric cars scrapped when they become too complex and uneconomical to repair due to failing batteries after <10 years?

    Yes it’s better to remove emissions from town centres and have them elsewhere, but just because you don’t see the gas and coal being fed into enormous boilers, that’s still happening for over 50% of the UK’s electricity.

    A Tesla Model S in Ludicrous mode is still great fun, but anyone who thinks ‘they are part of the solution not part of the problem’ for driving an electric car, is in my opinion, not doing anything better than the diesel owners who bought diesels having been told they were better lower emission alternatives to petrol cars.

  105. In reply to VoiceOfReason.

    The way I look at it, is that ICE (internal combustion engine) cars have almost reached their limit in terms of the ability to reduce emissions. Small incremental changes ahead only. Whereas electric cars, it’s just the start. Yes, electric cars have been around for many, many years, but in terms of mass production and billions of dollars being put into battery tech around the world, the electric car is quite new.

    Electric car batteries eventually will likely have less need or no need for rare elements and will become more efficient at recycling. Additionally, electric power will eventually be 100 percent renewable. They’re far from perfect right now, but long term, I think it’s the better option.

  106. VoiceOfReason

    In reply to Driving Test Tips.

    Totally agree. Perhaps the current trend for working from home wherever possible is also part of the long term solution.

    Going back to the OP, hopefully electric cars also provide a solution to the running engine issue in terms of noise and pollution at the point of use. If someone wants to use their battery to power heating or air con in an electric car or power accessories / equipment, they can please themselves and do so quietly without impacting anyone else.

    Hopefully it’s like LED lighting, the first ones were interesting, but expensive, didn’t perform well and weren’t that reliable. However many years on and for the majority of people, in the majority of applications LED lighting is the standard and best choice. Not for everything or everyone, but enough to be the normal option.

  107. Tessa Tiley

    In reply to Danny.

    I have people sitting outside my house in their cars running their engines for as much as half an hour at a time or more, while they talk on their mobiles and listen to the radio. All their exhaust fumes come into my front room. It’s disgusting and I don’t want to breathe it. That’s why it’s a thing.

  108. In reply to Linda.

    Using a mobile while engine is running is also an offence in the UK even while parked up. £200 fine and 6 points on your licence.

  109. BoB Wardall

    In reply to Mark.

    Go and live in another country . Or cowboy up . I’m nearly 70 and if I can do it , anyone can .

  110. Suzie

    So is it against the law to sit in a car revving your engine for hours on end? Is it also illegal for him to reverse onto the road to park half on and half off the pavement with no qualified driver with him?

  111. terence anderton

    In reply to richard.

    the norm is evidently a large suv poluting the air and using a mobile phone the purpose of running the engine is to justify the reason for purchasing a industrial style vehicle the to cover there inferiority take up two car parking spaces

  112. Michael

    In reply to Jane Legge.

    I just saw this & see it often in the little Norfolk town I cycle to for shopping. Nearly always SUV’s . Today a “Sports” Range Rover 6 feet away from 3 young people enjoying the sun on a cat park bench. Woman driver completely oblivious. I concur completely about your point on car parks.

  113. Howard Nicholls

    In reply to Jane Legge.

    i totally agree there is no need, the school run drivers are some of the worst offenders.

  114. Suzza

    I have a guy straight across from me who drives a taxi for the town firm he is based at home, I live in a cluster home so all windows face his parked car lights glaring through my window and diesel engine running 9am till 11pm plus some days. As a woman living on her own it feels like he knows my every move, I know I’m not that exciting but even so it is driving me mad!!!!! 9.15pm his lights are glaring in all my windows and engine running 😳

  115. Hi Suzza,
    Send an email or letter to the firm he works for saying that the noise, exhaust pollution and light pollution is unacceptable. They should hopefully have a word with him. Failing that, bad internet reviews or comments on social media often make things happen. There’s also a code of conduct that taxi driver must abide by, I’m pretty sure there is making unnecessary pollution in there. Contact the council about your concerns.

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