Owners of the most soot-spewing backhoes, excavators and other diesel equipment in Metro Vancouver must now register their machines and pay hefty annual fees.
A new regional bylaw takes effect Jan. 1 that Metro hopes will prod equipment operators to upgrade to cleaner diesel technology to help reduce cancer, respiratory illness and other health risks from particulate pollution.
The most polluting off-road diesel engines are classified Tier 0 and must be registered and labelled with a ‘T0’ decal to operate in Metro.
They’re being charged $4 per horsepower for 2012, but Metro intends to steadily raise the fees in the years ahead and expand the rules to more machines.
Fees that start now in the hundreds of dollars – for a 100-horse excavator, for example – could be in the thousands within a few years.
Owners who retire a Tier 0 machine or upgrade it to Tier 2 or better will be refunded 80 per cent of the fees paid in the previous three years.
Diesel soot emissions are responsible for about two-thirds of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in the region.
Off-road equipment accounts for more than 40 per cent of diesel emissions in Metro and the machines have not been upgraded as swiftly as on-road diesel trucks, which make up about eight per cent of emissions.
Ships are the biggest emitter at 43 per cent, but off-road machines are considered a bigger danger because they operate closer to where people live, work and play.
Diesel engines smaller than 25 horsepower are exempt, as are farm machines, emergency generators and recreational machines like ATVs and snowmobiles.
For more info see www.metrovancouver.org/nonroaddiesel.