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Larger vans could be outlawed under new LEZ

Larger vans now join lorries in LEZ scheme

Older vans outside new London clean air regs

LONDON traders with older vans could lose their livelihoods – or find them severely curtailed – under new emission proposals.

The London Mayor, Boris Johnson, plans to introduce phase 3 of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ).

This will affect larger vans exceeding 1.205 tonnes unladen weight. The proposed new legislation requires such vans to be Euro III emissions compliant. This is likely to affect any larger vans registered before January 1 2002.

For operators with vans that are not compliant, there will be a charge of £100 per day to enter the LEZ. The legislation also affects minibuses.

The original legislation was due for introduction in 2010, but the mayor delayed the introduction because of the deteriorating economy which would unduly affect small businesses, charities and the self-employed in London.

The new proposals, contained in the draft ‘Clearing the Air’, outline the Mayor’s draft air quality strategy, the key sources of London’s harmful airborne pollutants and proposes an action plan to reduce emissions.

London is required to meet European Union requirements or the government faces large fines of potentially millions of pounds if legal air quality targets are not met across the UK.

“I want to improve the quality of life for Londoners. By 2012 the eyes of the world will be on our city, and I am determined that we will be a cleaner, greener and less polluted city, that safeguards the health and well being of its citizens,” said Mayor Boris Johnson.”Whilst we must take bold steps to become a cleaner, healthier city, it is my duty as Mayor to balance both the city’s environment and economic needs,” continued London’s Mayor. ”

The Low Emission Zone is currently being effective in deterring the dirtiest and older heavy goods lorries, buses and coaches from driving on our streets. Larger vans and minibuses will also have to meet emissions standards to avoid charges when driving in the Zone. But this will not be implemented until 2012 giving a reprieve to smaller businesses and the self-employed who would most be affected, and giving them extra time in tough economic conditions to get cleaner vehicles and avoid charges.”

‘Clearing the Air’ will now be sent for consultation with the London Assembly and the Greater London Authority’s functional bodies. These include Transport for London, London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police Authority and other interested parties. Consultation will last until 30 November. In early 2010 a second version of the strategy will be published for formal public consultation.

Traders with older vans might consider taking advantage of the government’s extension of the scrappage scheme. It now includes vans up to eight years old. Read the full story: Eight-year old vans now qualify for scrappage scheme.