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The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is an area of Greater London in which driving heavily polluting diesel-powered commercial vehicles attracts a fee. Vehicles that do not meet certain strict emissions standards are charged, while other vehicles can enter the area without cost.               

The zone was set up to encourage owners of the most polluting vehicles to either buy cleaner replacements; to modify their vehicles so they are less polluting; or to use alternative forms of transport. It operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

 

The impact of polluted air on health

London's poor air quality has a direct impact on its residents' health. Lung disease and asthma are exacerbated by tiny particulates in the air. Much of this pollution comes from road vehicles. In 2007 Transport for London (TfL) estimated that each year there were 1,000 premature deaths and 1,000 hospital emissions because of poor air quality in the capital. However, more recent research revealed that “around 9,400 deaths in London are attributed to illnesses related to air quality”.

The LEZ scheme began in 2008 with particular emissions standards, which were further tightened in 2012.

Distinctive green and white signs mark the boundaries of the LEZ, which covers London's 33 boroughs. Much of it lies within the M25 area.

 

Affected vehicles

Vehicle type

Feb 2008

Jul 2008

Jan 2012

Lorries

Euro 3

Euro 4

Lorries (3.5–12 tonnes), buses & coaches

n/a

Euro 3

Euro 4

Minibuses & vans (1.205-tonnes)

Euro 3

Motor caravans & ambulances (2.5 - 3.5 tonnes)

Euro 3

 

Charging days

The charging day runs from midnight to midnight, so anyone driving a designated vehicle from, for example, 11pm to 1am will need to pay for two days.            

 

How is the LEZ enforced?

The LEZ is enforced using the same automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) technology used for the London Congestion Charge. Hundreds of ANPR CCTV cameras are located across London. The data they collect is accessed by the DVLA, which compares number-plates to its vehicle database. It can therefore immediately detect any liable vehicle that has not paid the LEZ fee. This enables TfL to pursue unpaid LEZ fees.

 

Parked LEZ vehicles

Any LEZ-liable vehicle parked in the LEZ but not driven will not attract a fee.

 

Exempt vehicles

Some vehicle types are exempt from the LEZ:

 

Fees

Vehicles are charged either £100 (larger vans, minibuses and other specialist vehicles) or £200 (lorries, buses, coaches and other specialist heavy vehicles). The LEZ charge can be paid for up to 64 days before the date of travel; on the day of travel; or up to midnight on the following working day (those travelling on a Friday, for instance, have until midnight on Monday to pay the charge).

Vehicle

Weight

Daily charge 

Larger vans - Motorised horseboxes
4x4 light utility vehicles
Pick-ups
Other specialist vehicles    

1.205 tonnes unladen 

£100

Motor caravans - Ambulances

2.5 - 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

£100

Minibuses (with more than 8 passenger seats)

5 tonnes or less gross vehicle weight

£100

Lorries - Goods vehicles
Motor caravans
Motorised horseboxes
Breakdown and recovery vehicles
Snow ploughs
Gritters
Refuse collection vehicles
Road sweepers
Concrete mixers
Tippers
Fire engines
Removals lorries
Other specialist vehicles     

More than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

£200

Buses
Coaches (with more than 8 passenger seats) 

More than 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight   

£200

 

Penalty Charge Notice (PCN)for non-payment

The penalty payment (Penalty Charge Notice) will be either £500 or £1000, depending on the vehicle's weight/type. There is a 50% reduction if the fee is paid within 14 days of issue.

 

Congestion Charge

The LEZ should not be confused with the London Congestion Charge. The Congestion Charge must be paid for most motor vehicles driven in the London Congestion Charge Zone between 7:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.

 

Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

Similarly, the LEZ should not be confused with the ULEZ, or ultra-low emission zone. The ULEZ charge will be applied to vehicles that do not meet certain emissions standards and covers the same area of London as the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ). It will come into effect on 8 April 2019.

 

T-Charge

The LEZ is also distinct from the T-Charge (Emissions Surcharge), which is levied on vehicles which do not meet Euro emission standards. The T-Charge zone covers the same area as the CCZ.