Van hire customers renting vans from companies operating older vans should be aware that the rules for driving into the London Low Emission Zone change from 3rd January 2012.
The LEZ covers most of the area inside the M25, although some outlying areas are excluded (click here for a map).
Vans affected are likely to be at least 10 years old (51 reg or older) and so most mainstream van hire companies will not be affected, as most rental companies operate newer vans.
However, companies offering specialist vehicles for hire – such as splitter vans for bands, tour buses, horseboxes, cherry pickers, 3.5t tippers with cranes, ambulances, motorhomes and other specialist vehicles often run older rental fleets to compensate for the higher initial cost of the vehicle.
What Are The New LEZ Rules?
All light commercial vehicles must meet the Euro 3 emissions standard or face a daily fee of £100 (<3.5t) for driving into the London Low Emission Zone, starting January 3rd 2012. For vehicles over 3.5t, the fee is £200 per day.
Transport for London has taken the position of assuming that ‘vehicles registered as new before 1 January 2002’ will not meet the Euro 3 requirement. But… a number of light commercial vehicle models registered in 2001 are Euro 3 compliant and will meet the new rules without requiring any modification.
Transport for London has published a list of ‘early adopters’ on its website – so vehicle owners can check whether their vehicle is on the list.
I’m Renting – Where Does This Leave Me?
As usual with the law, the onus is on the driver to make sure that they are complying with all relevant rules.
If you rent a light commercial vehicle on the following list that was registered before 1st January 2002, and you wish to take it into the London LEZ, you will need to check the situation for yourself*.
Weight 1.205 – 3.5 tonnes:
- Motorised horseboxes
- 4×4 light utility vehicles (more than 8 seats or van variant of 4×4)
- All Pickups
- Other commercial vehicles
Weight 2.5 – 3.5 tonnes:
- Motor caravans (motorhomes and campervans)
Weight < 5 tonnes:
- Minibuses with 8-16 passenger seats
The LEZ is operated by Transport for London and all the information you need should be available on its website. Here are some key links:
- LEZ homepage
- About the LEZ (including coverage details and map)
- Which vehicles are affected? (includes registration plate checker tool – use this if checking a specific vehicle)
*All of the information provided here is believed to be correct at the time of publishing and vanrental.co.uk will endeavour to maintain it in the future. However, no responsibility can be taken for errors, omissions or future changes to the rules. Check the Transport for London website for the latest information.