The London Low Emission Zone which aims to reduce pollution in the capital from commercial vehicles has gone live with all diesel-engined lorries weighing more than 12 tonnes required to meet strict emissions standards, those which don’t face a daily charge of £200.
Transport for London says the Zone is intended to to improve air quality in the capital. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year and will cover most of Greater London.
According to TfL poor air quality worsens asthma and causes the premature death of an estimated 1,000 people each year in London.
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: “Thousands of Londoners suffer ill-health from pollution released by traffic fumes.
“This is why we are launching the London-wide Low Emission Zone.”
Operators of vehicles which fail to meet the Low Emission Zone emissions standards will have to pay a charge of £200 for lorries, buses and coaches.
Critic of the scheme have questioned how effective it will be. Freight Transport Association Head of Policy for London, Gordon Telling said: “Londoners are entitled to cleaner air and all of us operating vehicles, whether they are cars, buses, taxis, or commercial vehicles, should do all we can to reduce emissions. However, this scheme achieves very little that would not have been achieved anyway as the result of enhanced EU engine standards.”
“This means that Londoners, and lorry operators, are having to pay an enormous price – around a quarter of a billion pounds – £100 million of operator costs and £130 million of London taxpayers’ money – for a trivial improvement in air quality. The biggest pollution from traffic in London comes from cars and the scheme does not apply to them.”
The FTA warns that as many as 10,000 vehicles working in and around London may not yet be compliant.
Conservative Mayoral candidate Boris Johnson last week described the penalty regime as “the most punitive, the most draconian fining regime in the whole of Europe.”