Vehicle age should be the criteria by which limits are set within the proposed London Low Emission Zone. The industry believes that this approach would present the easiest, most manageable and cost effective solution to implementation, an approach also supported by government. Benefits include:
- Practical with higher levels of compliance
- Far lower costs for TFL
- Lower costs to operators
- Minimising the effect on London business
- Promotion and incentives easier to understand for operators
- System can be applied to non-UK registered vehicles
- Tried and tested approach (Sweden)
In its submission to Transport for London, SMMT suggests the criteria should vary according to vehicle type. Eight years should be applied to heavy goods vehicles, 14 years for coaches (reducing to 13 years in 2010) while ten years should be used as the cut-off criteria for vans and light commercials.
Nevertheless, SMMT, along with many other motoring organisations, questions the benefits of locally applied, low emission zones over wider international efforts to improve air quality. National air quality standards offer a cohesive and far better cost-benefit solution, by bringing incentives to operators that introduce vehicles meeting the most stringent new engine standards, regardless of location.