Commercial vehicles registered before October 2006 will have to fit filters costing between £1800 and £3500 in order to comply with the new low emission zone covering the whole of Greater London.
The purpose of the low emission zone is to improve air quality within the 680 square miles of Greater London, it is supported by environmentalists but the extent of the zone, the range of vehicles involved and the draconian penalties have caused widespread concern among voluntary groups and small businesses. Many church groups and sports clubs rely on minibuses, such as the London Football Association. Owners of horseboxes, motor caravans, removal lorries and “white van man” will also be hit by the changes. All owners of these commercial vehicles face the costly option to replace or modify their vehicles or pay for storage outside the zone area at great cost and inconvenience.
Leading green campaigner, Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive of the Campaign for Better Transport believed the introduction of the scheme had been poorly planned. “I think for a long time the Government and the Greater London Authority were in denial about the seriousness of the problem and the need to meet these standards, as a result we are now seeing panic measures that are going to hit a lot of people with very little notice for them to deal with the problem.”