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Supply issues put pressure on LEZ compliance plans

BUT OLDER VEHICLES HAVE A COMPLIANCE WINDFALL. With only four months to go until Mayor Livingstone's Low Emission Zone for London starts, some lorry operators are struggling to obtain new vehicles in competition with Eastern European buyers.

With the 4 February 2008 deadline for HGVs over 12 tonnes to be compliant with the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) by meeting the Euro 3 standard for particulate matter, a number of operators who have decided to replace rather than modify their trucks, or reorganise their fleets, are finding that some delivery times are now stretching forward into 2008.

Investigations by the Freight Transport Association indicate that this is a problem for large and small companies alike, some of which are now being told their vehicles will not be ready until the end of 2008. Industry sources have confirmed that rising demand from Eastern Europe and problems with some of the vehicle components have put a squeeze on supplies of some new vehicles.

FTA is working with other stakeholders, including Transport for London, to understand the full extent of the issue and what the implications for the LEZ might be.

However, there's better news for some. Since early September, operators of certain Euro 1 and 2 vehicles that are on TfL's approved engines list (engines that were built to produce low levels of particulate matter) have been successfully getting Low Emissions Certificates after passing an extra smoke test. Already over 300 such certificates have been issued, with all VOSA test stations able to carry out the tests either separately or at the same time as MOT tests.

Gordon Telling, FTA's Head of Policy for London said, 'Whilst it is encouraging to see Transport for London taking this emerging problem seriously, our advice remains the same – analyse your fleet and start taking steps to get compliant. If there is to be a problem with getting compliant, the best time to find out and put a “Plan B” into action is now, not in January. Information on how to get compliant can be found in FTA's compliance guide, which is available online or in TfL's LEZ leaflet.

'The news about Low Emissions Certificates (LECs) is very encouraging. FTA's efforts to get the issue of older, but cleaner engines acknowledged by TfL are having a real result – 300 Low Emissions Certificates issued equals around £1.5 million in compliance cost savings for the industry. As more LECs are issued, those savings will rise further. Anyone looking to get a Low Emissions Certificate must make sure that their engine type is on the list and that the engine details can be easily accessed at the test station.

'FTA is also pleased to see that TfL proposes to discount the Congestion Charge for Euro 5 and will be lobbying to make sure that the discount is a meaningful one which will properly incentivise uptake of the latest, cleanest vehicles.'

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