Tough new emissions targets for construction machines from next year in London

London is to become the first city to require construction equipment to meet a new combination of standards in a bid to cut emissions by 40 per cent by 2020.

London Mayor Boris Johnson
London Mayor Boris Johnson

New planning rules will require construction equipment to meet standards for both particulates (PM10) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from September 2015, as part of a wider move to ensure London achieves compliance with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) legal limits.

There will be occasional exceptions for specialist construction machinery.

Machinery which is more than 10 years’ old will need to be replaced or retrofitted to be used on all developments in central London and developments of 10 homes or more or an area of 93 square metres in developments in outer London.

The size threshold is aimed at helping smaller businesses but will only be in place for five years. In 2020 the standards are due to tighten again across the whole of London, to complement the mayor’s proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London.

Expensive construction machinery is often replaced less frequently compared to cars or vans, while residents close to building sites often complain of air pollutants coming from the break-down of materials and soil movement on site.

The new mandatory Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), spearheaded by the capital’s mayor Boris Johnson, addresses this by reducing emissions of dust, particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) from construction sites and managing emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) from machinery.

Johnson said: "By replacing the oldest and most polluting bulldozers and machinery on building sites we can greatly reduce harmful emissions and boost our air quality. We’ve all walked past construction sites and seen thick clouds of dust generated from equipment that simply hasn’t been updated or replaced in decades.

"This new guidance will reduce NOx and is part of a series of strong measures including the Ultra Low Emission Zone from 2020 that will greatly reduce London’s air pollution from all emission sources."

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