In order to avoid paying fines to the European Union Boris Johnson must cut the amount of pollution caused by motor vehicles in the nation's capital. Currently drivers of buses, coaches and other heavy goods vehicles must pay a charge of £200 in order to enter the city wide Low Emissions Zone. By 2012 these charges will be extended to also apply to van drivers if their vehicles do not meet strict emission guidelines.
In practice this means that those with older vans have two years to either convert their vehicles or buy new ones in order to be able to work in the city and still make a profit. This means van hire companies, couriers and white van men will be forced to upgrade. Black cabs over 10 years old will no longer be issued with licences after 2012.
Johnson believes that these will help to reduce the amount of pollution in London to more acceptable levels. It is estimated that 10,000 vans in the capital will be subject to the £100 daily fines. Mr Johnson has not yet explained what the money raised by the fines will be spent on although it is likely to be put towards other methods of reducing pollution. The cost of enforcing the new laws will also be significant.