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London emissions rules could ban classic cars from city center

The United Kingdom is a land of tradition, and that includes traditional classic cars.

There are 800,000 of them in the country -- largely well-loved by owners and the public.

And they are big business. Firms and events dealing in historic cars generate about $7.5 billion a year and employ 30,000 people nationwide.

But now there are fears these cars will be blocked from the roads of the UK's capital city, London.

It's all about a proposed ban on all but zero or ultra-low emission cars and vehicles. London's Mayor Boris Johnson wants to put it in place by 2020 in order to bring down pollution levels in the city.

Mayor Johnson says, “vehicles will not be allowed in, or new ones will not be allowed in, unless they have, or confirm to very, very, very stringent environmental standards.”

The new restrictions would apply to many older cars, but especially classics built well before environmental controls were even dreamed of.

Vintage Car Dealer David Clark says, “customers come to London from all over the world to see classic cars, they won’t be able to drive them. Won’t be able to do anything.”

Car buffs say they're willing to work with the Mayor on the new restrictions, as long as they don't take all the air out of their historic cars' tires.

According to Ben Cussons of the Royal Automobile Club, “it is going to be a question of finding balance, about usage, whether it is a full-time exemption, or whether, for example, older vehicles will pay an enhanced charge to enter the [London ultra low emissions] zone.”

In fact, Mayor Johnson’s office tells Fox News it thinks some sort of exemptions can be put in place to keep the classics on the road, but a deal still needs to be struck to clear the air -- in more ways than one.

Greg Palkot currently serves as a London-based senior foreign affairs correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC). He joined the network in 1998 as a correspondent.