Minibuses get LEZ reprieve
Private hire firms operating minibuses in the capital will now have longer to comply with London's Low Emission Zone (LEZ) air standards.
Due to be introduced from October 42010, London Mayor Boris Johnson has put back the date until January 3,2012. The Mayor cited the tough economic situation as the reason for extending the time required to meet LEZ compliance.
From 2012 minibuses must meet Euro III standard for particulate matter (PM), in order to drive free of charge in the LEZ. The Mayor says there are an estimated 70,000 vehicles, which also covers larger vans, that are non-compliant.
The minibuses affected are those with more than 8 seats, plus the drivers seat, below 5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW).
Failure to meet the specified emission standard means operators will be required to pay a daily charge of £100 to drive within the LEZ. Non-compliant vehicles that do not pay the charge would be subject to a £500 penalty charge. TfL says it would prefer that drivers meet the emission standards rather than pay the charge. TfL says it is not the aim of the scheme to generate income from operators.
Private hire operators with vehicles that do not meet the specified emissions standards for the LEZ have a number of options to comply with the scheme. These include:
Fitting approved particulate abatement equipment to the vehicle
Purchasing a new or compliant secondhand vehicle
Re-organising a fleet so that only vehicles which meet the required emissions standards drive within the zone
Paying a daily charge
Further information can be found on TfL's LEZ website: www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/lez.