Last reviewed 22 October 2021

A new report shows that 95% of heavy vehicles are complying with the capital’s stricter Low Emission Zone (LEZ) standards.

Since stricter standards for the London-wide LEZ were introduced in March this year, the number of heavy vehicles complying has increased from 87% to 95% – and has almost doubled since the scheme was first announced in February 2017.

The LEZ is part of the Mayor of London’s plans to tackle air pollution in the capital and aims to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles to become cleaner. It covers most of Greater London and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

It is estimated that the new LEZ standards will help drive down NOx emissions from heavy vehicles by as much as 60%, helping London meet legal limits no later than 2025, an achievement that independent researchers calculated would take 193 years without these schemes.

The scheme complements the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a zone also operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in which most vehicles need to meet the ULEZ emissions standards or their drivers must pay a daily charge to drive within the zone.

The latest report shows that, since the changes to the LEZ scheme were announced in March 2021, many large and small businesses, sole traders, charities and private owners of large and heavy vehicles have shifted to cleaner vehicles.

On 25 October 2021, the ULEZ will expand up to, but not including, the North and South Circular Roads (see “Get ready for ULEZ expansion”).

The expanded Zone will cover an area 18 times larger than the central London ULEZ and will affect older, more polluting vehicles, including cars, vans and motorcycles, that do not comply with strict emissions standards.

Director of City Planning with Transport for London (TfL), Alex Williams, said: “I would like to thank the operators, companies and drivers who have made the change to cleaner vehicles that meet or exceed the Low Emission Zone standard. We know the pressures of the pandemic have been tough but those making the transition are playing a key role in the green recovery.”

The full LEZ report can be found – here.