ULEZ sign on South Circular
The ULEZ will be expanded across the South Circular to the Greater London boundary in August, including all of Greenwich borough

Greenwich Council has begun moves to replace its winter gritters after it was revealed that they do not meet pollution standards – costing the borough about £30,000 a year to keep them on the road.

The five gritters, which saw heavy use during the cold spell before Christmas, do not meet the low-emissions zone (LEZ) standards for heavy vehicles, it was revealed at a council meeting last month.

Each one costs £100 per day in surcharges to Transport for London whenever they are used, deputy leader Averil Lekau revealed before Christmas in a written answer to a Greenwich Council meeting.

Last week the council announced on an obscure section of its website that it was planning to replace the gritters because they “are beyond their economic working life”. The cost is not mentioned but figures from other councils suggest it could be at least £500,000.

Since March 2021, specialist heavy vehicles over 3.5 tonnes across Greater London need to meet Euro VI standards for nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter pollution or their operators need to pay the fee. The charge has been in place since 2008 and rules have been tightened over the years.

The LEZ is a separate charge from the ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ), which already runs to the South Circular and will be expanded across Greater London this August. Greenwich also runs 25 vehicles that do not meet ULEZ standards but has obtained an exemption from TfL because deliveries of replacements have been delayed, Lekau said.

“We’ve got a very big problem as a borough in that we’re paying £30,000 a year to run these gritters,” Hartley told the meeting, saying that recent consultation documents indicated that TfL had not responded to a request for exemptions on them.

Okereke said that he did not know about any exemptions but added: “We have an ambition to make sure we go green as much as possible, our carbon neutral plan sets that out quite forcefully.”

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