PROPOSALS for a low emission zone (LEZ) across London could see firms charged £200 a day.

Transport for London (TfL) is currently consulting on plans which would see vehicles not compatible with European emission standards slapped with fines if they drive within the M25.

While the M25 would not be affected, there is an option to include the M1, M4, M11 and A3113 in the LEZ - a move which would need to be approved by the Department for Transport.

A timetable has been drawn up in the event the £120m scheme is approved in the spring which would see:

  • Heavy good vehicles, such as lorries, being charged £200 everytime they enter zone from early 2008
  • Lighter heavy goods vehicles, such as buses and coaches, charged £100 from summer 2008
  • And light goods vehicles, such as minibuses and vans, charged £100 from autumn 2010.

The charge only applies to the vehicles made before 2001, which are non-compliant with the current Euro III standard.

Euro III became mandatory for all newly manufactured HGVs, coaches and buses in the European Union from October 2001.

Drivers can upgrade their older vehicles by fitting particulate abatement equipment, costing in the region of £2,000 - £3,000.

TfL will use the 199 congestion charge sites fixed with multiple cameras which recognise vehicle registrations.

Those who do not pay the charge will be liable for a £1,000 fine, reduced to £500 if paid within 14 days.

Currently, cars are not affected but London Mayor Ken Livingstone has asked TfL to look at including cars "at a later date".

And by 2012, TfL will bring in a new rule, meaning engines will have to adhere to Euro IV standards.

Freelance gardener Roger Grover, 41, from Dairsie Road, Eltham, fears he will go out of business if the charges come in.

He said: "I bought my Peugeot van second-hand in 1999.

"It was manufactured in 1996, so doesn't meet the requirements.

"It means I will have to scrape together for a new van by 2010, and the value of this one will be worthless now.

"Who wants a van that costs £100 a day to drive?

"I think this is a bad idea. It's TfL trying to make yet more money from honest, hard-working people."

A TfL spokesman said: "The proposed LEZ is the most effective way of quickly reducing pollutants that are among the most harmful to human health.

"It will make London one of the first cities in the world to have taken such a radical step to tackle air pollution and safeguard our environment."