Ken Livingston, the Mayor of London, yesterday approved the latest move in making the city a cleaner place: the world's largest Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Trucks, coaches and buses are affected by the new rule, which operates as follows (from the Mayor's office):
  • From February 2008 the Low Emission Zone will apply to lorries over 12 tonnes. From July 2008 the Low Emission Zone will also apply to lighter lorries, buses and coaches, and the dirtiest of other heavy vehicles.
  • Operators of affected lorries, buses and coaches that do not meet the Low Emission Zone standards (unless exempt or entitled to a 100% discount) will need to pay a charge of £200 for each charging day they are driven in the zone. The level of charge has been set in order to encourage operators to clean up their fleets rather than to incur a charge. The Mayor hopes that very few non-compliant vehicles will be driven in the zone.
  • Should an operator of a non-compliant vehicle not pay the daily charge for driving within the Zone, then following the service of a penalty charge notice (PCN), a penalty charge of £1,000 will apply for lorries, buses and coaches and other relevant vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days.
Those certainly are some steep prices to pay. So, what are those LEZ standards? They're based on European emissions standards and are as follows (again, from the Mayor's office):
  • The baseline emission standards for the Low Emission Zone are the Euro standards for all four regulated pollutants, rather than for particulates (PM) only. Therefore, from February 2008 the base standard for lorries over 12 tonnes would be Euro III in order to drive within the Low Emission Zone at no charge.
  • The Euro III standard became mandatory for all new lorries, buses and coaches sold in the EU from October 2001 and for all new vans and minibuses sold in the EU from January 2002. Transport for London would assume that a lorry, bus or coach is Euro III compliant if it was first registered on or after 1 October 2001, or 1 January 2002 for vans and minibuses.
  • The Euro IV standard became mandatory for all new lorries, buses and coaches sold in the EU from October 2006. Transport for London would assume that a lorry, bus or coach is Euro IV compliant if it was first registered on or after 1 October 2006.
  • The emissions standard of a vehicle could be improved by fitting a particulate trap or filter which substantially reduces the amount of particulate matter emitted from the vehicle's exhaust. An operator could also re-engine the vehicle or convert it to an approved alternative fuel, such as compressed natural gas (CNG).
  • From July 2008 lorries, buses, coaches, motorcaravans, ambulances and hearses between 3.5 tonnes and 12 tonnes will also be affected.
  • 'From 2010 the Low Emission Zone will include heavier diesel-engine light goods vehicles and minibuses. The lightest vans (under 1.205t unladen weight) will be excluded from this stage as they have car-like emissions. TfL estimates that 350,000 LGVs and minibuses in this category come into London each year, but that over three-quarters will already be compliant with the Zone, leaving a minority of fleet owners who will need to put in place new plans to comply. We are giving them three years notice of this change.'
The Mayor's office estimates that pollutant emissions will be reduced by 16 per cent by 2012 thanks to the LEZ, and there will be £250m worth of health benefits. Spokespeople for the British Lung Foundation and the British Heart Foundation welcomed the announcement. But not everyone agrees the LEZ will be a wonderful thing.

You can read the full text of the official statement here.

[Source: Mayor of London]

Share This Photo X