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 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.

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).

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

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), generic vehicle weight data typical of the make and model 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.

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 meet the standards, you'll have to pay the daily charge or may receive a Penalty Charge Notice.

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.

Lorries, buses, coaches and heavy specialist vehicles

Currently, these vehicles need to meet the Euro III standard for particulate matter (PM), but as of 3 January 2012 this will be raised to Euro IV standard for PM:

Vehicles first registered as new on or after 1 October 2006 will meet the Euro IV standard.

Find out more about the 2012 changes and how they'll affect your vehicle

Larger vans, minibuses and specialist diesel vehicles

As of 3 January 2012, these vehicle types will be affected by the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) for the first time. If you own this type of vehicle, it will need to meet the Euro 3 emissions standard for PM to be driven within the LEZ.

Vehicles first registered as new on or after 1 January 2002 will meet the Euro III standard.

Partial filters

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.

Vehicles with current Reduced Pollution Certificates and Low Emission Certificates

If your vehicle currently has a valid Low Emission Certificate (LEC) or Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC), the changes in 2012 mean your vehicle may not meet the new standards. If this is the case, you may have to take action to drive without charge in the zone.

Vehicles with RPCs:

All vehicles that have a valid RPC meet the current LEZ emissions standards. However, when the standards change in 2012, not all of these vehicles will meet the new LEZ emissions standards.

There are three types of RPCs, 'M', 'P', and 'G'. You can identify which type of RPC you have by checking which box has been ticked on your certificate.

Vehicles with RPC 'M' certificates:

RPCs issued to vehicles because they've been modified by the manufacturer are classified as 'M' certificates. Vehicles with these won't meet the new LEZ emissions standards in 2012.

Vehicles with RPC 'P' certificates:

RPCs issued to vehicles because they have a full filter fitted are classified as 'P' certificates. Vehicles with these will meet the new LEZ emission standards in 2012, so you won't need to take any further action.

Vehicles with RPC 'G' certificates:

RPCs issued to vehicles because they have been converted to run on gas are classified as 'G' certificates. Vehicles with these will meet the new LEZ emission standards in 2012, so you won't need to take any further action.

Vehicles with LECs:

All vehicles with a valid LEC meet the current LEZ emissions standards.

However, not all vehicles that currently have a valid LEC will meet the new LEZ emissions standards in 2012.

If you have a LEC because your vehicle has an Eligible Engine, or because it has been fitted with a partial filter (see above), your LEC will no longer be valid from 3 January 2012.

If your vehicle has been fitted with a full filter or has been converted to run on gas, your LEC will be valid after 3 January 2012, providing that your vehicle passes a re-test when your current certificate expires.

Lorries, buses & coaches and heavy specialist vehicles

If you want to drive a lorry, bus, coach or other specialist heavy diesel vehicle in the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) without paying a daily charge, it needs to meet certain emissions standards.

At the moment, these vehicle types need to meet the Euro III standard for particulate matter (PM).

However, from 3 January 2012, these standards are changing to Euro IV for PM, so even if your vehicle meets the current standards, you may need to take action soon to meet the new standards in time.

It doesn't matter whether your vehicle is used for commercial or private purposes - it will still need to meet the standards.

The age and weight of a vehicle indicate the level of particulate matter (PM) it produces.

The table below shows those diesel vehicles which don't meet the current LEZ emissions standards, and which will not meet the standards from 3 January 2012. If you own any of the vehicles listed, you will need to take action before driving within the LEZ, or pay a daily charge.

Vehicle type

Weight

Does not meet the current standards (Euro III for PM)

Will not meet the new standards from 3 January 2012
(Euro IV for PM)

- Lorries
- Motor caravans
- Motorised horseboxes
- Breakdown and recovery vehicles
- Snow ploughs
- Gritters
- Refuse collection vehicles
- Road sweepers
- Concrete mixers
- Fire engines
- Tippers
- Removal lorries

- And other specialist vehicles

More than 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

Vehicles registered as new before
1 October 2001

Vehicles registered as new before
1 October 2006

- Buses
- Coaches
(with more than 8 passenger seats)

More than 5 tonnes gross vehicle weight

Vehicles registered as new before
1 October 2001

Vehicles registered as new before
1 October 2006

 

If your vehicle isn't included in this table, use our our vehicle checker
If your vehicle is affected by the LEZ, find out what your options are

What emissions standards will my vehicle need to meet?

The LEZ emissions standards are based on Euro standards for the emission of particulate matter (PM). PM is very fine particles of soot emitted by vehicles, which have an effect on health. This type of pollution can contribute to asthma, heart and lung disease, other respiratory illnesses and even early death.

The standards now (2011)

At the moment, vehicles need to meet the Euro III standard for PM. Vehicles registered as new on or after 1 October 2001 are assumed to meet this standard.

The new standards from 3 January 2012

From 3 January 2012, vehicles need to meet the Euro IV standard for PM. Vehicles registered as new on or after 1 October 2006 are assumed to meet these standards.

How do I know if my vehicle meets the standards?

The quickest way to check if your vehicle meets the current or new standards is to enter your registration plate details into our vehicle checker. Alternatively, you can use the vehicle type tool.

Your vehicle will meet the current emissions standards if:

  • It was first registered as new on or after 1 October 2001
  • You have a valid Low Emissions Certificate (LEC) or a Reduced Pollution Certificate (RPC) for fitting an approved partial or full filter, or converting to an approved gas engine
  • You have received a LEC or RPC because your vehicle has an Eligible Engine - a pre-October 2001 engine that meets Euro III standards