The London Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) regulations are now in full force for Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM), as well as road vehicles. The regulations affect almost all construction equipment on almost all projects in and around the capital. Emissions restrictions apply in both Greater London boroughs and the city centre, although the regulations are tighter in the Central Activity Zone encompassing The City, Westminster and Canary Wharf.
We covered LEZ compliance in detail in a blog post last summer, when there was some concern about which vehicles were covered and which were exempt. You can read the article here. As the busy spring and summer months come around once more, we thought it would be worthwhile to re-cap on three easy ways to ensure compliance for your fleet.
Public Concern About NOx And Particulate Matter (PM) Emissions
This is especially important because of all the bad publicity that diesel engines have received recently. Plant manufacturers have long been aware of the potentially hazardous impact of Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and Particulate Matter emissions, which is why the trend has been towards ever cleaner engines. In many cases technological innovation has been ahead of the curve of government and EU regulations, with the politicians racing to catch up!
As the legislation stands, all NRMM vehicles will be required to have either zero emission or ‘ultra low’ emission engines by 2020. The definition of ‘ultra-low’ is up for debate. However, there is likely to be popular support for even stricter LEZ regulations in London, now that strong connections have been made between NOx and PM emissions and a range of health problems.
Our advice to plant hire companies is to be prepared, and to go one step further than the current regulations if possible. This will demonstrate good corporate social responsibility and future proof your business for the inevitable tightening of regulations in the years ahead.
How To Ensure LEZ Compliance For Your Fleet
There are three options available to plant hire companies to ensure compliance:
1) Purchase New Kit With Low Emission Engines
The most expensive option, but the one with the potentially highest long term ROI, is to invest in new or refurbished machines equipped with the latest engines. Some of our plant suppliers, including Bobcat and Doosan, have extremely clean kit, which has the double benefit of costing a lot less to run than previous models. Many London operators have taken to refreshing their fleet with newer equipment every 2 to 4 years – technology really is moving that fast.
2) Retrofit Your Fleet With New, Cleaner Engines
Some machines can be upgraded with LEZ compliant engines. This is cheaper than buying new machines and can also extend the working life of your equipment. If you take this option, be sure to have the new engines professionally installed by manufacturer-approved technicians, and be aware that some machines are not suitable for upgrades.
3) Reorganise Your Fleet
If, like many hire companies, you have a mixed fleet of older and newer machines, the quickest option is to reorder your fleet so that the older engines are only used outside of London. This is a fast and cheap solution, but in our opinion should only be seen as a stopgap; because you could otherwise miss out on valuable business within London, and place customers outside the capital at a disadvantage.
Don’t Get Caught Out By The London LEZ
Our Guide to the London Low Emission Zone is a comprehensive, straightforward explanation of all the regulations as they stand between 2015 and 2020. It explains where the zone begins and ends, how to stay compliant, penalties for non-compliance and much more. Click here to download your free copy today.