31.1% of vans will be charged for using London’s roads under new emission rules

The new Low Emission Zone will transform London’s streets when it takes effect on 3rd January 2012.

With little more than a month left until the new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is introduced, new research by the automotive trade association, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), has shown that, of the 3.57 million vans on UK roads at the end of 2010, 31.1% were not eligible.

The changes to the LEZ will require large vans, minibuses and other specialist diesel vehicles to meet Euro III emission standards. Typically, Euro III vehicles are those registered after 1st January 2002, affecting those that will be 10 years old from January next year.

More surprising is the fact that London exceeded the national average with 37% of vans not meeting the emission standards, amounting to almost 85,000 vehicles. Vehicles driven within the LEZ who do not meet the requirement will have to pay a daily charge.

Cameras will read number plates within the LEZ and check it against the database of registered vehicles. This database is compiled using information from The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), with the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA) providing generic vehicle weight data typical of the make and model.

Transport for London details: “This tells us automatically whether your vehicle meets the LEZ emissions standards, is exempt, is registered for a discount or if you’ve already paid the daily charge”.

“It’s not only emissions that improve when owners and operators upgrade, fuel efficiency also gets better, returning real-world benefits on top of the LEZ savings,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive.

Mr Everitt continued: “SMMT anticipates a slight rise in commercial vehicle registrations in this last quarter of 2011 as owners and operators buy into more efficient, compliant vehicles. The CV market has been strong all year and is up 20% for the year-to-date. It’s clear that those businesses and individuals running vans and trucks in the capital have already begun to renew their vehicles and we’ll be watching with interest how the market performs over the next few months.”

From 3rd January 2012, the regulations will demand an increase from Euro III to Euro IV standards. Vehicles first registered as new on or after 1st October 2006 will meet the Euro IV standard, but the 2010 Motorparc survey showed that 32% nationally, and 29% in Greater London, do not meet the LEZ threshold.

A spokesperson for SMMT told The Manufacturer: “The amount of emissions such as NOX and carbon permitted by Europe has become more and more stringent over the years. There are alternatives to getting a new van to meet emission standards, such as fitting a full particulate filter.”