London’s 2012 Emission Zone and 4×4 (including the Land Rover L2B!)

Driving a 4×4 in London is looking to become expensive to anyone driving a model/variation that falls within the new scheme. We are here to explain what its all about and who is affected!

What is the zone?
The London Low Emission Zone has been around for few years now, since 2008 it has looked to keep London’s’ air cleaner by charging a fee to operators of large diesel vehicles that do not meet their emission standards. Up until now this has only really penalized businesses such as haulage companies. However as of the 3rd of January 2012, there are to be some changes.

London LEZ Map


What its for?
The emission zone is intended to reduce particulate matter pollution under a new air quality strategy set out by the Mayor of London in December 2010. In a nutshell, particulate matter is very small particles produced from any form of burning including diesel engines, these tiny particles are then breathed in which can lead to health problems. After January 2002 diesel vehicles must pass European standards for particulate matter pollution, and what the London Emission Zone is effectively doing is backdating this standard and enforcing it on vehicles that never had to meet it.

How is it enforced?
Every vehicle registered in the UK is on a database, if your vehicle is affected by the LEZ you will have received a letter in late 2011 stating so. Likewise if your vehicle does not meet the new emission standards then it will be on the LEZ database, which is accessed by hundreds of cameras within the zone and charges you accordingly, similarly to how the congestion charge system works.

Who is affected?
In 2012, from January 3rd, (lets call it a late Christmas Present for arguments sake), the types of vehicles that won’t meet London’s emissions standards has increased considerably, this time more likely to affect small businesses and individual people. The table below shows the list of added vehicles:

Vehicle types that don’t meet the LEZ emissions standards
Vehicle Type Weight Does not meet the current standards (Euro 3 for PM)
– Larger vans
– Motorised horseboxes
– 4×4 light utility vehicles
– Pick-ups
– Other specialist vehicles
Between 1.205 tonnes unladen and 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight Vehicles registered as new before 1 January 2002
– Motor caravans
– Ambulances
2.5 – 3.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Weight
– Minibuses (with more than 8 passenger seats) 5 tonnes or less Gross Vehicle Weight

We’ve highlighted the two vehicle types that mainly effect 4×4’s (unless you have an ex military Ambulance, that is classed as an Ambulance in its logbook).
Pickups: Basically how this all works is anything that has a pickup bed, that is older than 2002 falls into the list of vehicles, including double cab pickups, so that brings alot of things like Land Rovers, Mitsubishis, Isuzus…etc. Over the years pickups have been used increasingly for personal use with more and more models being as comfortable and well specced as other 4×4’s. In the case of Land Rovers, if you have a Landy that started its life as a pickup, and was converted to a station wagon (not on the list) either professionally or DIY, then it is still a pickup, and the DVLA will not let you change that…so you will still get charged.
4×4 Light Utility Vehicles: Here is one close to our hearts at Far Corners, in the same way as pickups, if you have any form of utility vehicle, this means a vehicle that isn’t 100% a station wagon, and stated as an “Estate Vehicle” then it will be affected. So that’s all hard-tops, including utility station wagons.

What you can do if you are affected?
This is a pretty damn rubbish end to this article, but basically there isn’t anything you do that is worth doing, especially if you like your 4×4. The options are as follows:

  1. Sell your current vehicle and get one that is compliant. (Yippee!!)
  2. Pay to have a particulate filter fitted, at least £2000!
  3. Pay £100 a day.

Another problem to remember is that the LEZ applies to residents within the zone, so option 3 could get pretty pricey!

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