Vehicle operators who will miss the deadline for retrofitting their fleets in line with Low Emission Zone engine requirements have been thrown a lifeline by Transport for London. The government agency will not penalise non-compliant operators if they can prove they have ordered retrofit systems ahead of the 3 January deadline.

Natalie Chapman, FTA’s Head of Policy for London, said:

“The demand for retrofit systems has inevitably risen as we have approached the New Year and many commercial vehicle operators have been unable to get the correct filters fitted to their trucks and vans in time. To its credit, TfL has listened to concerns and given operators who were struggling to meet new compliance requirements a nice early Christmas present by allowing them to avoid steep penalty charge notices if they can prove they have ordered retrofit systems before the 3 January.”

FTA conducted a survey in quarter three that revealed forty-five percent of HGV fleet operators were already fully-compliant with, or prepared for, the move to Euro IV. We learnt then that the ‘can do’ logistics sector was busy replacing its aged lorry fleets (retrofitting being less popular), or redistributing non-compliant trucks to operating centres outside of London. However, only ten per cent of van fleet operators could say the same.

Chapman concluded:

“For tradespeople that operate vans which are over 10 years old the LEZ will be much more of an issue and will almost certainly bring serious consideration to renewing old vehicles for operators keen to avoid a heavy fine.

“The LEZ isn’t going to disappear – in fact other cities around the UK are also considering similar restrictions. While this reprieve from TfL will allay anxieties for many operators, those who haven’t yet taken steps to meet their compliance requirements should act fast to ensure they don’t end up incurring massive penalties and lagging behind the rest of the industry.”

FTA has produced an LEZ compliance guide to help operators understand and plan for the changes. This is available for FTA members to download at

Andrew Bentley, MInst SMM
Head of Vehicle Contracts and Marketing