The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) and new rules for London’s Low Emission Zone (LEZ) have been put on hold until 2021.
Both were set to be enforced from October this year, but have now been delayed for four months to allow the freight industry to focus on core operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
The suspension, ordered by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, acknowledges that demands currently faced by the commercial fleet sector could have made compliance with the new standards difficult to achieve.
“Coronavirus has disrupted supply chains and placed additional demands on the freight industry, making it more difficult for new standards to be met on time,” he said.
“To help ease pressure on the sector I’ve asked TfL (Transport for London) to delay the enforcement of the new stricter rules, initially for four months, to allow the freight industry to focus on its core operations during the pandemic.”
Although the new rules under both schemes will still legally come into force on October 26, no charges will be payable or enforced for non-compliant vehicles under the new standards until the end of February 2021.
TfL says the new date for the start of enforcement will be kept under review.
Natalie Chapman, head of urban policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), told Commercial Fleet that operators are already facing significant disruption to their operations as members of their workforce fall ill and self-isolate.
She explained: “Achieving compliance with DVS will require many goods vehicles over 12 tonnes to have additional cameras, sensors and alarms fitted. However, supplies of technology, equipment and trucks are already being disrupted and more effects are expected.
“Delaying enforcement will allow businesses to focus their efforts on ensuring the population of London continue to receive the food, hygiene products and other basic items required to see them through this pandemic.”
Chapman did warn, however, that a “longer period is likely to be needed for businesses to adjust” and it would work with TfL on the final timetable.
The new rules for the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which covers most of Greater London, will be tightened for buses, coaches, lorries and vans over 3.5 tonnes in line with the tough requirements in place for the central London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
Vehicles adhering to the latest Euro VI standard will pay nothing to enter the zone, while Euro V vehicles will need to pay a daily charge of £100 and Euro IV vehicles and below will face a daily charge of £300.
The Direct Vision Standard (DVS) introduces a permit system for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs), assigning vehicles a star rating based on how much the driver can see directly through their cab window.
Anyone driving an HGV within Greater London without a valid HGV safety permit will face a penalty charge notice of up to £550.
Christina Calderato, TfL’s head of transport strategy and planning, says that the tighter standards for the Low Emission Zone and Direct Vision Standard are both absolutely vital to making London a cleaner, greener and safer place to live.
“We’re committed to bringing these changes in as soon as practically possible while supporting the freight industry and recognising that the coronavirus pandemic has placed intense new demands on people and organisations across the capital,” she said.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the freight industry and propose to begin enforcement of the new rules four months later than planned, at the end of February 2021.”
Freight operators can continue to apply for an HGV Safety Permit on the TfL website at tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/dvs-safety-permit-application/.