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Low Emission Zone

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Low Emission standards will come into force from the 3rd January 2012, meaning vehicles that drive around London will need to meet higher emission standards.

The Low Emission Zone was first introduced in 2008 to encourage polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving around Greater London to become cleaner.

London suffers from heavy air pollution caused by old vehicles in such a large city, it is feared it could cause health problems for people breathing in pollution that is around the capital.

The 2010 Londoner Survey found that pollution from traffic was the top environmental concern for Londoners; its impacts are most severely felt by vulnerable people such as children, older people and those with existing heart and lung conditions.

The LEZ has been set up that vehicles have to meet a certain emission standard to limit the amount of pollution coming from motorist’s exhausts or are at risk of paying a daily charge.

If a vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards there are a few things that can be done including fitting a filter into the vehicles exhaust, replacing the vehicle, recognise the fleet, certify an eligible engine, convert to gas or pay the daily charge which ranges from £100 to £200.

The LEZ runs 24 hrs a day, everyday of the year including weekends, public and bank holidays charging from midday to midnight.

Cameras are used to read the vehicles number plate when driving within the LEZ which will then check it against the database of registered vehicles.

This database is put together by using information from The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), generic vehicle weight data typical of the make and model, drivers and operators who have registered directly with The LEZ.

It will automatically tell if the vehicle meets the LEZ emissions standards if the daily charge is paid, if it is registered for a discount or exempt.

Lorries, buses, coaches and heavy specialist vehicles will need to meet the Euro IV Standard along with larger vans minibuses and diesel vehicles meeting the Euro 3 emissions standards. 

Lord Mayor Boris Johnson said: “This strategy sets out tough new standards addressing the main sources of pollutants to set London firmly on course to meet legal limits - and more importantly, to drive long-term improvements to air quality.”

Introducing the scheme will bring a more efficient environment to the streets of London limiting the amount of pollution that is harmful to the environment.

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By Amanda Bainbridge