Emissions standards for commercial vehicles


Sarah Kenny, of Construction Industry Publications discusses air pollution and emissions standards for commercial vehicles and non-road mobile machinery…

Petrol and diesel-engined motor vehicles emit a wide variety of pollutants, principally carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter (PM10), which have an increasing impact on urban air quality. In addition, pollutants from these sources may not only prove a problem in the immediate vicinity of these sources, but can be transported long distances.

Photochemical reactions resulting from the action of sunlight on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and VOCs, typically emitted from road vehicles, lead to the formation of ozone. Ozone is a secondary pollutant, which often impacts areas far from the original emission site.

In order to combat the increasing problems from vehicle emissions in the UK, a number of cities have introduced Low Emission Zones (LEZ) for buses but only one, London has an LEZ for both buses and all commercial vehicles entering its area. London has also gone further with the introduction of controls on the use of non-road mobile machinery on construction projects.

Legislation and Guidance

The Greater London Authority Act 1999, gives Transport for London the power to create road user charging schemes in Greater London and, in consequence, The Greater London Low Emissions Zone Charging Order 2006 was made and came into force on 03 May 2007. This requires the payment of a charge for each day that a commercial vehicle with a diesel engine that is not either compliant with specified emission standards or is exempt if driven within the boundary of Greater London.

In July 2014 the GLA published “The Control of Dust and Emissions During Construction and Demolition – Supplementary Planning Guidance”. This SPG seeks to reduce emissions of dust, PM10 and PM2.5 from construction and demolition activities in London. It also aims to manage emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOX) from construction and demolition machinery by means of a new non-road mobile machinery (NRRM) Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).

Reducing pollution from Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRRM)

From the 1st September 2015, the SPG, through planning permissions, requires that all major developments and also any other development within two defined zones of Greater London using non-road mobile machinery with power ratings of between 37 and 560kW must confirm to set engine emissions standards (or exemptions).

From 1st September 2020, tighter standards will be enforced.

The NRMM LEZ comprises an area including Greater London, the Central Activity Zone and parts of Canary Wharf. ‘Major developments’ are defined as those with residential developments with 10 or more dwellings, or 0.5ha site area or more, and for all other uses, floor space of 1000m2 or site area of 1ha or more.

Any NRMM used in Greater London on major developments will be required to meet Stage IIIA of the EU directive.  Any development within the central activity zone (CAZ) or Canary Wharf will be required to meet stage IIIB of the Directive requirements. From 1st September 2020, the requirements increase to Stage IIIB and Stage IV for Greater London and CAZ / Canary Wharf respectively.

To demonstrate conformance to these requirements, projects will need to maintain a list on the GLA website: https://nrmm.london of all NRMM they are using. In recognising that it may not be possible to comply with these requirements in every instance, the GLA has published an exemption policy. In some cases, plant with the required engine rating may not be available or manufactured or available in the volumes of units required.

Guidance on the exemptions policy can be found at https://nrmm.london/nrmm/about/nrmm-exemption-policy

Application for exemption has to be made via the https://nrmm.london  website.

For more Construction Environmental Guidance consult the CIP Construction Environmental Manual – www.cip-greenbook.com

Sarah Kenny

Sales and Marketing Manager

Construction Industry Publications Ltd

Tel: 0870 078 4400




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