Transport for London Low Emission Zone

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I don’t often drive into London and won’t in the future as today I received a letter from Transport for London telling me I wasn’t allowed to drive anywhere inside the M25.

Back in 2006 I purchased a Ford Ranger on eBay, it looked like a useful vehicle for collecting and delivering stock and has given sterling service of the past six years. Last Sunday I needed to move some stock and had to run to Hounslow, so naturally I used the vehicle I’d bought for the purpose.

Today’s letter informed me that as of the 3rd January 2012 the London Low Emissions Zone has been extended to include smaller vehicles – it used to pretty much only apply to HGV lorries but now applies to larger vans, 4×4 light utility vehicles and pick-ups. Thankfully I received a warning, not a fine and the letter informed me I now have a 28day grace period to get my car out of London or have modifications made so that it meets the Low Emissions Zone standards.

I now have two choices, either retro fit a particle filter (at a cost of around £1500, plus pay to get it certified and pay to have it retested annually. Or I can pay £100 per day to drive into London (on top of the congestion charge). Failure to do either will result in a fine of £500 per day!

The London Emissions Zone requirements only apply to diesel vehicles (remember how we were once all encourage to buy diesel vehicles instead of petrol), and generally only older vehicles. Cars and motorbikes are exempt but anything over 1.205 tonnes is affected.

It’s worth noting that whilst the London Congestion charge only affects the center of the City, the London Emissions Zone covers almost everything inside the M25. I’m sure that everyone living within the Zone is aware of the new emissions requirements and have probably sold their old motors, but I’m equally certain I can’t be the only driver that wasn’t aware I could be fined for driving inside the M25.

If your like me and hardly ever drive near our capital then next time you do it’s worth checking if your diesel van will be affected by the London Emission Zone. If you hire a van you should also check that it’s compliant. The charge is extortionate and the fine is outrageous.

As a small business I won’t be paying to modify my truck and I won’t be paying the daily charge unless I can bill it to a client – I simply won’t work within the M25 unless I can take the car. Whilst I can totally appreciate that London’s air pollution is a concern, especially for those that live there. However it’s yet another cost for a small business with the choice of either pay up for expensive modifications or pay up for a newer vehicle.

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