Be the change

What you can do

When you’re out and about you can be breathing in dirty air without even knowing it. And you might be adding to the problem by the way you travel.

But there are plenty of ways you can help reduce air pollution. A few simple changes could help protect you, your family and others.

The single biggest thing we can do is drive less. Choosing to make more journeys on foot or by bike will also improve your health.

Top tips to avoid and reduce air pollution

Here are a few ideas that could work for you. It might not be possible to do them all, but every small change we make can help clean up our air.

Walk or cycle more

Cut down on time in your car by walking and cycling more. This will reduce air pollution and it’s cheap and healthy. Being stuck in traffic can expose you to lots of pollution. Polluted air can get sucked into your car, and often stays trapped there for you and your family to breathe in.

Top tips for drivers

A third of journeys under 1km in Greater Manchester are made by car. Could you make that journey on foot or by bike? If you have to drive, you can still reduce the impact of your journey.

Recycle your air

If you’re stuck in traffic, you can be exposed to more air pollution inside your car than outside. Polluted air can get sucked into your car, and often stays trapped there for you to breathe in. So, if your vehicle has a recycled air setting, remember to use it.

Mythbusting: Engine idling

Idling is leaving your vehicle’s engine running when it’s not in motion. Here are some idling myths and facts, that could help reduce your emissions and save money!


Turning your engine off and on again doesn’t damage your engine, drain the battery or waste fuel. In fact, it is much better for the health of your engine than idling. Idling for just 10 seconds wastes more fuel than restarting the engine.


The best way to warm up a vehicle is to drive it. Modern engines don’t need more than a few minutes to warm up as you drive. Leaving the engine running when you’re parked up can actually increase wear and tear.


Engines will stay warm for 30-60 minutes after switching off, so you needn’t worry about your heater going cold, and stopping and starting doesn’t affect the lifespan of modern engines.


Traffic wardens can fine you if you’re parked somewhere you shouldn’t be, whether your engine is running or not!


Idling for an hour can waste half a gallon or more of fuel. Think of the amount of money you’re wasting over the course of a year. It’s also bad for your engine and can mean higher maintenance costs.

What we’re doing

We all have a role to play in cleaning up the air we all breathe. In Greater Manchester, we’re committed to making a difference for the people who live, work and play here.

Our current plans and activity are already making a difference to local air quality. We’re also working with government on a new Greater Manchester Clean Air Plan.