Stay of execution for older vans

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has decided to defer a decision to include large vans into regulations controlling London’s Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) until 2012.

Originally it was planned to instigate phase 3 of the LEZ later this year but instead the Transport For London (TFL) executives have decided to launch a public consultation into the inclusion of vans into the LEZ in January 2012. The document stipulates that the “oldest, most-polluting larger vans” (i.e. those between 1.2-tonnes and 3.5-tonnes GVW) must meet at least Euro-3 emission standards to enter London without charge. The reason behind the change of heart is the current challenging financial position many traders find themselves in at present.

The news will be welcomed by any van owners, as the proposed charges for non compliance threaten to make any Commercial Vehicle Insurance quote seem like chicken feed. The rate to enter the capital with a non compliant van will be £100 per 24 hours with a charge of £500 per day if the toll is overdue.

The director of congestion charging and traffic enforcement at TFL said “The proposed deferral of the LEZ phase affecting larger vans to 2012 allows more time for owners and operators of vehicles to prepare for this change in what has been a challenging economic climate. Vans and minibuses are responsible for a significant proportion of the emissions that cause air pollution in London.”

Natalie Chapman the Freight Transport Associations head of policy for London warned that one side effect of inclusion would be a drastic fall in the value of second hand non compliant vehicles but insisted that most freight traders would not be affected, saying “The incorporation of vans into the LEZ is not a big problem for the vast majority of our members. Given that all vans built after October 2001 are built to Euro-3 standards anyway, this will really only impact van operators with fleets of more than 10 years old.”