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Prepare now for London's tough emissions standards

If your truck fleet doesn't meet Euro III standards you'll be charged to enter the capital, says Nick Fairholme

If you're involved in any aspect of construction delivery in Greater London, it's very likely you'll be affected by the Low Emission Zone which comes into effect on 4 February.

The scheme will cover most of Greater London, mainly following the Greater London Authority boundary.

There are a few deviations from this boundary to allow for safe turning movements for non-zone vehicles but the boundary is not the M25. If in doubt check the Transport for London website.

All roads, including motorways within the boundary - except the M25 where it crosses part of Havering - are included in the scheme. It will operate 24 hours a day, every day of the year, enforced using a network of fixed and mobile cameras.

Operators using heavy diesel-engined vehicles must meet the emissions standards or pay a daily charge of £200. If this is not paid they face a £1,000 penalty.

Emissions standards

Diesel-engined vehicles over 12 tonnes must meet the Euro III emissions standard for particulate matter from 4 February, while diesel lorries over 3.5 tonnes have until 7 July.

Diesel vans exceeding 1.205 tonnes and diesel minibuses below 5 tonnes must meet the standard from October 2010. Emissions standards will tighten again in 2012.

Vehicles first registered as new on or after 1 October 21 are assumed to meet the standards but older vehicles can be fitted with particulate abatement equipment, re-engined or converted to an approved alternative fuel.

They will also require a Vehicle & Operator Services Agency compliance test before driving within the zone.

Vehicles on the Low Emissions Certificate Eligible Engines list published on the TfL website are able to take a smoke test without first modifying their vehicle. Operators who have not modified their vehicle and whose vehicles are not on the list will not be given a smoke test by VOSA.

It can take some time to install and inspect an approved abatement device, which must be completed by February if operators wish to drive within the zone without being charged. They should check compliance at: lezlondon.tfl.gov.uk/lez/vehicles.

Nick Fairholme is head of the London Low Emission Zone at Transport for London.