London postpones stricter LEZ rules for freight

Transport for London (TfL) is set to temporarily postpone the enforcement of new stricter rules for freight vehicles, which were due to come into force from October 2020 (under the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) and Direct Vision Standard), as disrupted supply chains during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it more difficult for the new standards to be met on time.

TfL has already temporarily suspended the current Low Emission Zone, Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) until further notice.

Low emission for freight in London

Freight is the lifeblood of London’s economy. For this reason, TfL is working together with the industry to tackle some of its biggest challenges.

The LEZ, which covers most of Greater London, encourages polluting heavy diesel vehicles driving in London to become cleaner. It does so by setting minimum standards for emissions. Authorities will thighten these standards in line with the tough requirements in place for the central London ULEZ.

The Direct Vision Standard will reduce danger to by introducing a permit system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The system will assign vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window.

Postponements ahead

From October 26, 2020, heavier vehicles not meeting the new standards would have had to pay a charge to drive within the LEZ. From the same date, anyone driving an HGV within Greater London without a safety permit could have received a penalty charge notice of up to £550.

Though the freight industry has been preparing for these new rules for some time, with many vehicles already compliant, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains and has placed additional demands on the industry. Meeting the new standards on time would have been difficult – particularly for businesses who have been unable to make changes to their fleet during the pandemic.

The Mayor of London has therefore asked TfL to delay enforcement of the new rules for at least four months; this would give the industry and fleet operators more time to adopt cleaner, safer vehicles. Although authorities set for the new rules to legally come into force on October 26, they will not enforce charges until the end of February 2021. Authorities will set the new date for the enforcement in the upcoming months.

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