Ignorance of new pollution laws could cost drivers dear

The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) which is designed to combat old, polluting diesel vehicles, changed radically on Tuesday and thousands of owners of old vehicles could be facing large fines.

Transport for London (TfL) says many old diesel vans, motorhomes and 4x4s aren't compliant with the new strict pollution limits.

Lorries and coaches are already included in the scheme but from Tuesday horseboxes, 4x4 light utility vehicles, pick-up trucks, ambulances and motorhomes that are more than 10 years old must meet the pollution limits.

The options for owners is scrap them, convert them or pay £100 a day to use them in the LEZ or face a £500 fine.

If you are unsure about your vehicle you can call TfL on 0845 607 0009 or try its website.

'Unfair and unreasonable'

One motorhome owner from south-east London just emailed me: "I am having to pay over £2,000 to have a device fitted and if it wasn't for the generosity of my son there would be no more motorhome and no more motorhome holidays for me.

"How many other owners are losing their motorhomes and holidays? It is very unfair and unreasonable to treat a private motorhome the same as a commercial vehicle.

"As you said there is no help from TfL nor the government. In fact the government is taxing me over £300 for complying as there isn't even VAT relief!"

Clearly not everyone is happy about these changes and my feeling is many more owners are unaware of them.

If the owners drive the vehicles in London and are picked up by TfL cameras they will be sent a warning notice giving them 28 days to comply with the LEZ.

TfL estimates the latest inclusions in the LEZ will have double the effect on air quality than the previous bounds of the LEZ.

It now has 98% compliance with lorries and coaches and some 90% of the latest inclusions, for example vans, already comply. It will be interesting to see if that number increases.

Let me know if you've been caught unawares.

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