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Low Emissions Zone (LEZ)

Find out more about the LEZ

Low Emissions Zone (LEZ)

What is LEZ?

The Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 in a bid to combat pollution in the capital, with stringent emissions standards set for all vehicles travelling within the LEZ.

Recent changes to LEZ

In January 2012, tighter regulations on emissions standards were introduced. Vehicles already affected by the existing regulations must meet these tighter standards. These changes also mean a greater number of vehicles are now affected.

Who will it affect?

The new standards will for the first time affect vans, lorries, buses, coaches and other specialist heavy diesel vehicles, registered before 1 October 2006.

Also having to comply are larger vans, minibuses & specialist diesel vehicles registered as new before 1 January 2002, whether used for private or commercial purposes.

If you’re not sure if your vehicle complies, use the vehicle check page on the LEZ website.

Where and when?

The LEZ emissions standards affect all roads within the Greater London area, including those at Heathrow and parts of the M1 and M4. The M25 is not included (even where it passes within the Greater London Authority boundary).

The LEZ operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including Bank Holidays.


Daily charges can be up to £200 for larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches and fines for non-compliance can be as high as £1000.

Even for those travelling into London on the odd occasion, it can still result in prohibitive operating costs. For example: A van travelling into the capital once a week and paying the £200 charge on each trip would result in an annual pay-out of £10,400.

Cameras within the LEZ are able to read vehicle number plates, checking them against a database compiled using data from the DVLA and VOSA. Therefore avoiding charges is clearly not an option.


There are various options available, such as having a filter fitted. However, though this will ensure that your vehicle is compliant, the lead time to have one fitted and certified can be up to 3 months - not helpful if you’re travelling into the LEZ in the meantime. Northgate Vehicle Hire offers an instant solution as all vehicles are LEZ compliant.

You could also convert your existing van - this is not always a viable option. For example, converting a 2002 VW Caddy with 210,000 miles on the clock could be anything from £1,800 to £3,500. Outweighing the cost of a new vehicle. In this instance, vehicle purchase or long term fleet hire is the best option.