The Transport For London (TFL) have enforced the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which covers most of Greater London. It works on a similar basis to the Congestion Charging by using cameras that read number plates. The LEZ cameras read numbers plates and cross-reference them on a database to see if vehicles meet emission standards.
If the vehicle doesn’t meet the standards then a daily charge will be issued. If this isn’t paid then a penalty charge is sent to the registered owner.
All types of vehicles are included in the LEZ scheme except for cars, motorcycles and small vans (under 1.205 tonnes unladen weight). At the moment it is only applicable to vehicle over 12 tonnes such as lorries and other large vehicles but in July 2008, most other vehicles are added to the scheme such as buses, coaches and large vans.
Charges can be up to £200 a day with the penalty of not paying being £1,000. This increases further if not paid within a certain amount of time.
Some people are seeing this as just another money spinner but London has amongst the worst pollution in Europe which affects the health of many Londoners. The Mayor of London has a legal obligation to take steps towards meeting national and European Union air quality objectives which are designed to protect human health.
The LEZ scheme seems like the only way forward but vehicle conversions could cost several hundred pounds each and that could seriously affect the future of some business that operate in London.