By Max Clarke

In a bid to support London’s small businesses, Mayor Boris Johnson has announced ‘significant discounts’ for new vans and minibuses to owners of vehicles affected by next year’s Low Emission Zone.

After 3rd January 2012, a range of high emissions vehicles- from lorries, to vans and flatbeds- will be obliged to pay a £100 daily charge for entering the zones.

Leading van manufacturers, including Peugot, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, have cooperated with Transport for London, who will introduce the measure, and pledged to make their cleaner vehicles more affordable for 72,000 owners of older models.

‘Vans are the lifeblood of this city,” said Mayor Johnson. “Their drivers are knights of the road, an army of entrepreneurs who decorate our homes, fix our plumbing and generally provide all the vital goods and services essential to the smooth running of our city. This noble bunch is mostly small business owners and independent traders who are focused on grafting hard to support their families and build a better future.

“So I am pleased to announce I have secured a hefty package of discounts with major van manufacturers which will help Londoners trade up their vehicles to new, cleaner models. Now is the time to help us tackle dangerous emissions to help those who most deserve our protection. The health of our children is too important to put at risk.’