London emission clampdown set for next stage

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The next stage of London’s low emission regulations starts in less than two months affecting vehicles over 3.5 tonnes along with buses and coaches.

The emissions standards will also apply to motor caravans, motorised horseboxes and other diesel-engined vehicles over 3.5 tonnes including Luton and box vans, as well as the very largest minibuses over 5 tonnes with 9 or more seats. Cars and motorcycles are not affected by the scheme.

Operators of vehicles that do not meet Euro 3 emissions standards for particulate matter will need to take action to comply with the scheme, for example by fitting pollution abatement equipment, or pay a £200 daily charge to drive within Greater London. If this charge is not paid and the vehicle does not meet the required standards, owners risk a penalty charge of £1,000.

Vehicles registered as new on or after 1 October 2001, when the Euro III standard became mandatory for new heavy vehicles, are assumed to already meet the emissions standards of the Zone. Owners of older vehicles have a number of options to ensure that their vehicles comply with the requirements of the Low Emission Zone including fitting pollution abatement equipment, converting them to an approved alternative fuel such as compressed natural gas, re-organising their fleet or purchasing a newer compliant vehicle.

Transport for London is giving operators of non-compliant vehicles a 28 day warning period from the date they are first seen driving within the Zone during which time they will not be issued with a penalty charge. This warning period will be in place throughout the life of the scheme.

Nick Fairholme, head of the low emission zone, said: “ “Because the aim of the low emission zone is to improve London’s air quality, TfL would much prefer operators of non-compliant vehicles to meet the emissions standards rather than pay a daily charge.”

Since 4 February, diesel-engined lorries over 12 tonnes have had to meet the Euro III standard for particulate matter. This includes heavy diesel-engined vehicles exceeding 12 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight, including goods vehicles, motor caravans, motorised horseboxes and other specialist vehicles.

From January 2012 all diesel-engined lorries, buses and coaches will be required to meet an emissions standard of Euro 4 for particulate matter to drive within the low emission zone at no charge.

* Ryder is reporting high levels of demand for long-term rental deals at its rental depots in the south following the introduction of the LEZ in London.

“The introduction of the LEZ, coupled with long lead times of the supply of new vehicles, has seen an increasing number of companies look towards rental vehicles as the solution to meet the requirements of delivering in Greater London,” said Nigel Martin, Ryder’s director of commercial vehicles and rental sales.

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