Large goods vehicles entering the capital from today must abide by the rules of Transport for London’s (TfL) Safer Lorry Scheme or face fines of up to £1,000.

It will require all vehicles over 3.5 tonnes to be fitted with sideguards and close-proximity mirrors in a bid to improve the safety of cyclists and pedestrians on the capital’s busy roads..

The scheme will be operational 24 hours a day, seven days a week, across the entire London Low Emission Zone and will be enforced by the police, the DVSA and the Industrial HGV Taskforce.

Those operators found flouting the rules face £50 fixed penalties or up to £1,000 at a magistrates' court. They will also be flagged up to their regional traffic commissioner for investigation.

Certain exemptions do apply to the scheme, such as those vehicles whereby mirrors cannot be fitted at least 2m from the ground, which includes vans such as the Iveco Daily, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and VW Crafter. A full list of exemptions is provided by TfL on its website.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) said it is pleased to see TfL including such exemptions, following the concerns it raised during the consultation period that a blanket ruling on all vehicles would see some larger vans and small lorries fall foul of legislation if forced to fit additional safety mirrors as their cabs would be too low.

Natalie Chapman, FTA head of policy for London, added: “However, in principle we believe that this kind of blunt regulatory tool is not the best way to improve cyclist safety.

“We still think that the money and effort invested in this scheme would have been better spent on increased enforcement against the small proportion of lorries that don't comply with existing regulations.  There are better ways to achieve safer roads for all users.”

The Safer Lorry Scheme was launched following a TfL consultation last year.