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Transport for London

About the LEZ

About the LEZ

The Low Emission Zone covers most of Greater London and operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
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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 pollution) coming from their exhausts.

Despite significant improvements in recent years, London's air pollution is still a concern.

So much so that on 3 January 2012, the LEZ emissions standards became more stringent. More vehicles are affected, and those that were already affected need to meet tighter emissions standards.

Are there any plans for tighter LEZ standards?

The Mayor announced on 13 February 2013 that the next phase of the LEZ will only apply to TfL-operated buses in 2015. Operators of diesel lorries and coaches do not need to take any action.

Previously it was proposed that all buses, coaches and lorries would need to meet a London-wide standard for emissions of oxides of nitrogen (NOx) in 2015. Applying this standard to TfL buses only will still deliver 75% of the benefits of the original proposal while saving operators £350m in avoided costs which would have been required to clean up their vehicles under the original proposal.

What action will TfL take to meet the new LEZ standard in 2015?

TfL has already begun retrofitting 900 of its older Euro III buses with Selective Catalyst Reduction (SCR) systems to reduce their NO2 emissions. TfL will also replace another 900 Euro III buses with the newest, ultra-low-emission Euro VI buses by 2015. Over the next four years, TfL will introduce 600 hybrid New Buses for London. This will significantly reduce CO2 emissions in the Capital by around 20,600 tonnes a year. Alongside this, there is a commitment to deliver 600 conventional hybrids by 2016 - a total of 1,200 hybrid buses by 2016.  

Where does it operate?

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) covers most of Greater London.

All roads within Greater London, those at Heathrow and parts of the M1 and M4 are included. However, the M25 is not included (even where it passes within the Greater London Authority boundary).

Signage

Look out for signs at the boundary and side of the road to see where it applies.

At all LEZ entry points there are signs like these:

Once you're inside the LEZ, on main roads there are signs to remind you that you're in the zone and that the scheme is enforced by cameras:

On major approaches to the M25, advance warning signs like these indicate the position of the LEZ boundary, allowing you to choose to divert onto the M25:

Closer to the boundary itself, some approaches have additional advance signs to indicate a route you may take to avoid entering the zone:

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 drive within the LEZ between 11.30pm and 01.00am 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.

Find out more about the central London Congestion Charging zone

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), generic vehicle weight data typical of the make and model, and drivers and operators who have registered 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.

Vehicles registered outside of Great Britain

If you're driving a vehicle registered outside of Great Britain (this includes vehicles registered in Northern Ireland), you'll need to register it with Transport for London (TfL) to let us know that it meets the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) emissions standards so we can add your vehicle to our database.

It's important that you do this, because if you drive in the LEZ without registering, even if your vehicle meets the standards, you'll have to pay the daily charge or may receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

Find out more about registering your vehicle

 

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.

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