What is the LEZ?
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 to encourage the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in the Capital to become cleaner. The LEZ covers most of Greater London. To drive within it without paying a daily charge these vehicles must meet certain emissions standards that limit the amount of particulate matter (a type of polution) coming from their exhausts.
Despite significant improvements in recent years, London's air pollution is still a concern.
So much so, that from 3 January 2012 the LEZ emissions standards will become more stringent. More vehicles will be affected, and those that are already affected will need to meet tighter emissions standards.
When does it operate?
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and public and Bank Holidays.
Charging days run from midnight to midnight. So if you were to enter the LEZ in a vehicle that doesn't meet the required emissions standards at 11:30pm and exit at 1.00am the next day, you'd need to pay for two days.
Vehicles parked in the zone but not driving are not subject to the LEZ requirements for that day.
Remember, the LEZ isn't the same as the central London Congestion Charging zone. The Congestion Charge applies 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday-Friday, excluding public and Bank Holidays. If you drive within the Congestion Charging zone during these times you will have to pay the Congestion Charge, even if you meet the LEZ emissions standards or have paid the LEZ daily charge.
How does it work?
There are no barriers or tollbooths within the Low Emission Zone (LEZ). Instead, cameras will read your number plate as you drive within the LEZ and check it against our database of registered vehicles.
This database is compiled using information from The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), the Vehicle Operator Services Agency (VOSA), the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and drivers and operators who have registered directly with us.
This tells us automatically whether your vehicle meets the LEZ emissions standards, is exempt, is registered for a discount or if you've already paid the daily charge.
Why have a LEZ?
The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced in 2008 to encourage the most polluting diesel vehicles driving in our Capital to become cleaner.
To drive within the LEZ without paying a daily charge, your vehicle must meet certain emission standards that limit the amount of particulate matter coming from its exhaust. Particulate matter is a type of pollution that can contribute to asthma, heart and lung disease, other respiratory illnesses and even early death.
The Mayor's Air Quality Strategy published in December 2010 has more information about the link between particulate matter and health.
By reducing traffic pollution, our aim is to improve the health and quality of life of everyone visiting, working in or living in London.
Changes in 2012
From 3 January 2012, the current emissions standards are changing and more vehicle types will be affected.
To meet the current Euro III for PM standards, some vehicles have been able to fit an approved partial filter.
However, from 3 January 2012 there will be no approved partial filters that allow a vehicle to meet the new LEZ standards of Euro IV for PM.
To be able to drive without paying the daily charge from 3 January 2012, vehicles with partial filters will need to be fitted with an approved full particulate filter.