Smart Transport

TfL temporarily postpones stricter freight rules due to COVID-19

Transport for London (TfL) will postpone enforcement of new stricter rules for freight vehicles in the capital for at least four months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New rules for the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and the Direct Vision Standard were set to come into force in October this year.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked TfL to delay the enforcement of the new rules to allow the freight industry to focus on its core operations during the pandemic.

TfL has already temporarily suspended the current Low Emission Zone, Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until further notice to help critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place.

Christina Calderato, TfL’s head of transport strategy and planning, said: “The tighter standards for the Low Emission Zone and Direct Vision Standard are both absolutely vital to our plans to make London a cleaner, greener and safer place to live.

“We’re committed to bringing these changes in as soon as practically possible while supporting the freight industry and recognising that the coronavirus pandemic has placed intense new demands on people and organisations across the capital.

“We’ll continue to work closely with the freight industry and propose to begin enforcement of the new rules four months later than planned, at the end of February 2021. We will keep this under review.”

New rules not due until after February 2021

The Low Emission Zone, which covers most of Greater London, encourages the most polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in London to become cleaner by setting minimum standards for emissions. These standards will be tightened for buses, coaches and lorries in line with the tough requirements in place for the central London ULEZ.

The Direct Vision Standard, which is being introduced with the support of London Councils, is set to increase safety for all road users by introducing a permit system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window.

From 26 October 2020, heavier vehicles not meeting the new stricter emissions standards would have had to pay a daily charge to drive within the Low Emission Zone.

From the same date, anyone driving an HGV within Greater London without a valid HGV safety permit (free on application) could have received a penalty charge notice of up to £550.

Freight operators can continue to apply for an HGV Safety Permit on the TfL website.

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