About

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.

We actively deal with reports from members of the public who identify vehicles which are excessively smoky and also vehicles sitting stationary with their engines running unnecessarily. The remit of the VEP is to help reduce vehicle emissions by encouraging drivers to switch off their engine whenever possible, educating the general public by the provision of free vehicle emissions testing, handling idling complaints and more.

Our free emission testing service allows you to check your emissions, without penalty, to ensure that your car will pass the MOT test and be road legal, it helps to ensure that you, and everyone else, are not breathing unnecessary noxious fumes created by your vehicle.

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 is is an offence for a vehicle to produce excessive emissions (10% over than the MOT limits).

Fixed penalties of £60 can be issued to the driver of any vehicles that fail when tested at the road side during statutory enforcement events. It does not matter is he/she owns the vehicle or not.

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.

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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:

  • Conducting emissions testing on vehicles.
  • Dealing with smoky vehicles that cause air pollution.
  • Encouraging vehicle owners to not idle unnecessarily on our roads.

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

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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 petrol 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.

To report Smoky or Idling Vehicles contact the Hotline Number 01845 451 888