What is the “Switch Off and Breathe” Campaign?

The East Central Scotland Vehicle Emissions Partnership (VEP) is a partnership between four councils (East Lothian, Mid Lothian, West Lothian, and Falkirk Councils) which has been running for over a decade with funding provided from the Scottish Government.

The remit of the VEP is to help reduce vehicle emissions by encouraging drivers to switch off their engine whenever possible, handling idling complaints and more.

In addition we use various advertising media to publicise our messages to try and change driving habits across the country. Perhaps you are aware of our Radio, Television, Digital, Local Press & Social Media ads?

Did you know?

The Road Traffic (Vehicle Emissions) (Fixed Penalty) (Scotland) Regulations 2003 state that is an offence to idle your engine unnecessarily when stationary. If you fail to turn your engine off after being requested you may be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £20. Additionally, the regulations also state that it is an offence for a vehicle to produce excessive emissions (10% over the MOT limits).

The legislation covers all vehicles on public roads including buses, taxis and private cars. Although contravening these regulations is against the law, it is up to each local authority whether or not to use fixed penalties.


Our Mission

We are committed to ensuring a healthy environment for the all those that live in
Central Scotland. To help reduce vehicle pollution we provide assistance by:

  • Encouraging vehicle owners to not idle unnecessarily on our roads or driveways

The aim of the partnership is to reduce the number of vehicles on our roads that
excessive pollution. This in turn improves the air quality for everyone throughout the region.


Myths and facts

The practice of vehicle idling results in high running costs and air pollution levels for drivers. By reducing the number of cars idling on Central Scotland’s roads, we can all cut pollution and fuel wastage.

When it comes to vehicle idling, there are a series of myths in circulation. Some believe that restarting the engine uses more fuel, but an engine restart uses only the equivalent to 10 seconds of idling. So if you’re going to be idling for longer than 10 seconds you are better to switch off your engine.

Restarting the engine is believed to cause greater engine wear, but it actually causes less.