Congestion charge exemption lowered
Only cars that emit 75g/km of CO2 or less will get the 100% discount from July 1 onwards. Transport for London is calling this the 'Ultra Low Emission Discount', and it replaces the Green Vehicle Discount that allowed cars emitting 100g/km or less into central London for free.
However, Transport for London has confirmed that any car currently registered will enjoy a full discount or 'sunset' period for the next three years. Cars will have to be registered for the discount by June 28 this year, and will no longer receive it from June 24, 2016.
The changes are designed to eliminate diesel cars from London, due to the higher level of pollutants that they emit, such as NOx, hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. It means that owners of cars such as the Volkswagen Golf Bluemotion will no longer be able to apply for the discount. Conventional petrol-electric hybrids such as the Toyota Prius will also lose their exemption.
Of current cars on sale, only electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles will escape the £10 daily charge. Electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe will continue to be exempt, while the likes of the Vauxhall Ampera, the Chevrolet Volt and the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid are the only cars with an internal combustion engine that will qualify.
In addition to the new low threshold, London mayor Boris Johnson announced that the penalty for non-payment of the charge will rise by £10 to £130. He also announced that drivers will no longer be able to pay the charge in shops. Instead, it can be paid online, over the phone, by text message or using the CC Auto Pay registration service, which lowers the daily charge to £9.
By Tom Webster