5/10/2006UK: London Seeks to Ban Old Cars
New environmental standards could allow London, UK mayor to ticket motorists who enter with eight-year-old vehicles.
London, UK Mayor Ken Livingstone is looking to use Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras to ban old vehicles from entering the city's proposed "Low Emission Zone." Under current proposals, heavy trucks that are as little as eight years old could be prohibited beginning in 2008, with smaller commercial vehicles falling under the ban in 2010. Non-compliant vehicles would be be hit with a fine of between £200 and £1000 (US $370-1800). The move is meant to bring the city into compliance with European Union air quality standards.
Once in place, however, the program's scope could expand and the ANPR cameras could be used to ticket drivers of passenger vehicles that are more than eight years old. The Association of British Drivers (ABD) condemned the proposal and suggested that the city's automobile issues should not be handled by Livingtone's Transportation for London (TfL), the agency in charge of buses and other public transportation.
"When bodies such as TfL control the whole system it creates a vested interest for them to take away choice and force members of the public onto the public transport which is providing their income," said ABD Environment Spokesman Ben Adams. "Those who cannot afford newer cars will have no choice but to make a transport choice that may well be highly inefficient for their needs. Good public transport will naturally attract users -- enforced use by penalizing the alternatives is not the way to go."
"The amount of pollution caused by the naturally declining number of older cars doing ever decreasing mileages is so minute as to be insignificant," Adams added.
Industry groups including the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders have questioned elements of the mayor's proposal. "We question the benefits of local schemes," said Keith Lewis, media manager for SMMT. "We would rather have national standards, with incentives for vehicles meeting the most stringent standards, regardless of location."
Transport for London estimates that the cost to business for the commercial vehicle changes at £250-390 million (US $465-725 million), with the agency collecting up to £50 million (US $90 million) a year in fines.
From the Transport for London Proposal:
It is proposed that the LEZ would be enforced using Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras similar to those used for Congestion Charging. Fixed cameras would be supplemented by mobile patrol units fitted with ANPR cameras.