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Air quality

Traffic pollution and engine idling

Traffic pollution

We regularly test vehicle emissions as exhaust fumes are a major cause of poor air quality.

This is part of a vehicle's MOT test but faults can develop in less than 12 months.

If we test your vehicle's emissions and it fails we can issue a £60 fixed penalty notice. If you have the vehicle repaired within 14 days, and it no longer exceeds the emission limits the fixed penalty notice is cancelled.

To avoid a fixed penalty you can use the following tips:

  • make sure your vehicle is regularly maintained – check the tuning, emission controls and tyre pressure
  • don’t make unnecessary journeys – short trips use a lot of fuel, especially if the engine is cold. Walk, cycle or use public transport as much as possible
  • only use air conditioning or climate control when you need it – these systems use extra fuel
  • reduce your speed – driving slower than 60mph will reduce emissions, save fuel and also save you money
  • drive smoothly – hard acceleration and sharp braking increase fuel consumption
  • switch off your engine – if you are stuck in traffic for more than a minute turn the engine off

Engine idling

You can be given a £20 fixed penalty if you have your engine running unnecessarily.

As a rough guide, if you're going to be parked for more than 30 seconds, turn off your engine and restart when you are ready to move on. You're likely to use less fuel, reduce unnecessary emissions, improve air quality and avoid the risk of receiving a fixed penalty.

The legislation covers any vehicle on a public road including buses, taxis, commercial vehicles and private cars. It does not cover vehicles stopped at traffic lights, in slow moving traffic vehicles under test or repair or defrosting a windscreen in very cold weather.