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New London legislation calls for cleaner construction equipment

Construction equipment used on sites in London must conform to new environmental standards from today as part of an initiative to complement the Low Emission Zone for road vehicles.

Contractors must either replace or retrofit equipment that is more than 10 years old that was manufactured before the EU’s Stage III engine emissions regulations for off-highway equipment was adopted.

The new legislation applies to equipment with power outputs of between 37kW and 560kW that is used on any construction site in the centre of London and sites building more than 10 homes or larger than 930m2 in Greater London. Some equipment will be exempt where pieces of equipment are not available at the emission standard stipulated or in the volumes required to meet demand in London.

According to the Mayor of London’s office, the legislation for construction machinery is expected to cut particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions by nearly 50% by 2020. Current estimates suggest that 12% of nitrogen oxide and 15% particulate pollution in London come from construction and demolition activity.

“Emissions from construction sites are a much bigger problem than most of us realise,” said Environmental Industries Commission executive director Matthew Farrow. “With so much construction taking place across London, this initiative will help clean up construction machinery and improve the health of Londoners. We have worked closely with the mayor’s advisers and other stakeholders to ensure the scheme makes use of the most effective, up-to-date environmental technology. Once the scheme has bedded in, appropriate enforcement will be vital.”

The focus of the initiative over the next six months is education and awareness-raising of the legislation but sites not meeting the standard after this period will be deemed to be in breach of the planning requirements. Penalties could include a delay to the final completion of a project which could have an implied financial cost for the company concerned.

Further details of the legislation and registration of equipment under the scheme can be found at www.nrmm.london

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