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Smoky diesels

Diesel fumes are a substantial source of air pollution in urban areas. They can be unpleasant to breathe and they make buildings sooty.

Lancaster City Council, working with the Department of Transport, would like your help to improve current standards by reporting excessively smoky lorries and buses. Please note that this does not apply to light vans, cars or taxis.

(If you are concerned about emissions from a local taxi, please call us on 01524 582033 or email

However please note that well maintained diesel engined vehicles do emit some smoke when starting from cold, accelerating or travelling uphill. This is normal and should not be reported. Please report vehicles only if they are continuously emitting excessive smoke.

Report a smoky diesel bus or lorry

You can report a smoky diesel online with the Driver and Vehicles Standards Agency (DVSA) at : 

The information needed to trace an excessively smoky vehicle and investigate a report is:

  • Registration number
  • The type of vehicle (bus or lorry – public service vehicle  or heavy goods vehicle respectively)
  • Vehicle description - make, model, colour etc
  • Date, time and place you saw the vehicle
  • The name of the vehicle's operator, if one is visible

You will be asked to give your own contact email address, which will be kept confidential, although this is not compulsory.

DVSA will contact the owner of the offending vehicle requiring it to be checked and to have any fault or maintenance problem rectified. The vehicle may be called in for checking at the nearest Goods Vehicle Testing Station.

More information about DVSA's operating standards and checks is available for buses and lorries.   

Last updated: 15 August 2017

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