Ultra low emission zone will go live in 2019

A date has been set for the introduction of London's ultra low emission zone: from 8 April 2019 the most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay Β£12.50 to drive through central London

Words By Claire Evans

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London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced that London's new ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) will be brought in a year earlier than expected. One reason given for this is that the number of diesel cars in the city has risen; the aim of the new charge is to halve emissions from cars by 2020.

The charge will apply to petrol cars that don't meet Euro 4 standards and diesels that don't meet Euro 6 standards. That means petrol cars registered before 1 January 2006 and diesel cars registered before 1 September 2015 will have to pay the Β£12.50 fee. The same rules apply to buses, coaches and HGVs, although they will be required to pay Β£100.

The fees will be payable 24-hours-a-day and will be on top of the existing congestion charge. It will surplant the T-Charge fee for older cars that was due to be introduced this October.

It is expected that similar schemes will be introduced for other UK cities.

Some European cities are also introducing measures to cut pollution. Under the Crit-Air scheme, all French registered vehicles entering Paris now have to display a sticker stating how much they pollute; failure to do so will result in a fine. The new rules also became applicable to foreign vehicles, including British ones, from 1 April 2017.

The French authorities have introduced the scheme to combat air pollution after several recent bouts of smog. Vehicles will qualify for one of six different coloured stickers that are based on their emissions, ranging from zero-emissions electric vehicles to diesel-engined vans and trucks.

However, the stickers aren’t being given out for all vehicles, meaning cars first registered before 1997 aren’t allowed in the city at all during the schemes operating hours of 8am to 8pm from Monday to Friday. Scooters and motorcycles built before 2000 are also banned, along with trucks and busses built before 2001.

Unlike London, Paris does not have a fee-paying congestion zone: instead it was operating a scheme that banned some cars at peak times, identifying them by their numberplate.

Anyone who wants to take their vehicle anywhere in the city inside the PΓ©riphΓ©rique ring road (similar to our M25) must order a windscreen sticker for it via the Crit-Air website. The cost is €3.70 (Β£3.20) plus postage.

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Paris is not the first to introduce a restricted vehicle zone, with 200 European towns and cities already having similar zones, including 53 in Germany.

London introduced the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in 2008, requiring the most-polluting diesel vehicles to pay a daily fee of for entering Greater London.

To find out about low emission zones across Europe click here.

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