Transport for London postpones new enforcement measures
30th April, 2020
Having already temporarily suspended the current Low Emission Zone, Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until further notice to help critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place London (TfL) has announced changes to the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the introduction of new Direct Vision Standards (DVS).
Low Emission Zone (LEZ)
The LEZ (Low Emission Zone) is an initiative used by Transport for London (TfL) to curb pollution in the capital by encouraging the heaviest, polluting vehicles to become cleaner. TfL aims to do this by introducing financial penalties and charges for those vehicles to enter the LEZ. The LEZ is in operation 24 hours a day.
From 26 October 2020, the LEZ standards are changing. From this date, operators will need to ensure that their heavy vehicles (including lorries, buses and coaches) will need to meet Euro 6 (NOx and PM) emissions standards or pay a daily charge to drive within the LEZ.
However, these charges have been postponed until February 2021. We would still advise operators to ensure that they make preparations for the change in standards in plenty of time to ensure that they are compliant.
There is no mention of the ULEZ in the TfL press release so it appears to only apply to the LEZ.
Direct Vision Standards (DVS)
The DVS aim to go further and introduce a requirement for all lorries over 12 tonnes gross weight to be granted a permit to enter and operate in London (the HGV Safety Permit). The DVS measures how much a HGV driver is able to see directly through their cab window. In turn this indicates the level of risk to vulnerable road users (e.g. cyclists, motorcyclists and pedestrians).
The aim of the DVS is to increase road safety on London’s roads for all road users, including cyclists and pedestrians. There is no charge for applying for the permit.
These changes were due to come into effect in October 2020, but due to the ongoing Covid19 pandemic, these have been postponed until February 2021. This is to give operators more time to prepare, in light of the challenges currently faced.
What do operators need to do?
Despite the announcement that the penalties for breaching the new rules are to be postponed, the changes are still to be implemented from 26 October 2020. We would therefore advise operators to consider their preparations for the changes as early as possible.
Operators will need to ensure that they have applied for the HGV Safety Permit for their vehicles; guidance on how to apply can be found here. The Permit will be granted if the vehicles meet the DVS standards. Further details on those standards can be found here.
All vehicles using the LEZ will need to apply for a Permit; this includes those vehicles registered in the UK and those registered abroad.
Once enforcement starts (currently February 2021), a HGV driven in the LEZ without a valid permit may be subject to a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) of £550 (reduced to £275 if paid within 14 days). In addition, if a vehicle is found to be in breach of the terms of the Permit after it is granted, this will be revoked.
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