London’s dirty old plant ban now in force

Construction machinery across London must now meet new Low Emission Zone (LEZ) requirements.

From 1st September 2015 construction equipment used on the site of any major development within Greater London is required to meet the EU Stage IIIA as a minimum; and construction equipment used on any site within the central activity zone or Canary Wharf will be required to meet the EU Stage IIIB standard as a minimum.

The new rules apply to non-road mobile machinery (NRMM) of net power between 37kW and 560kW. The engine emissions standards are set out in the EU Directive 97/68/EC. Stage IIIA came into force progressively after 2006 and Stage IIIB after 2011. There was leeway for manufacturers to have a proportion of their output to the former standard for a period and for dealers to clear old stock.

London is offering LEZ exemptions where pieces of equipment are not available at the emission standard stipulated or in the volumes required to meet demand. These include mobile cranes, 2.5-tonne telehandlers and generators rated between 50 and 200kW.

It is estimated that up to 12% of nitrogen oxide (NOx) and 15% of particulate matter (PM) pollution in London come from construction and demolition activity. London is the first city in the world to impose emissions standards for construction equipment that address both pollutant types. The mayor’s office expects the LEZ rules for construction machinery to cut PM and NOx emissions by nearly 50% by 2020.

To help implement the scheme an online register has been set up at for site managers to register machinery. After a six-month introductory period, should a site not meet the emissions standards required, its managers will be in breach of local authority planning requirements. Penalties will depend on the individual borough and their development control team but could involve a delay to the final completion of a project.

Deputy mayor Matthew Pencharz said: “Dust and fumes from construction sites are a nuisance to people who live close by but they also impact on London’s wider air quality. That’s why it’s so important for these new emission standards to come in to address the problem, which together with our efforts on transport emissions will make a significant difference to the air Londoners breathe.”

The Construction Plant-hire Association has given the scheme its blessing. Chief executive Colin Wood said: “We are pleased to support the Low Emission Zone for construction machinery, having worked collaboratively with the Greater London Authority on its development. We are committed to working with the industry to help them improve London’s air quality.”

Plant hire group Hewden said it was helping its customers in London meet the new rules by offering only equipment that is less than two years old.