If you drive a car built before 2005, from 23 October 2017 you will have to pay as much as £21.50 per day to drive in Central London – £10 more than the owners of newer, cleaner cars.
The added cost of driving in the capital has been introduced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, as part of plans designed to significantly reduce pollution in the city.
The £10 emissions surcharge (dubbed the T-Charge) will be placed on the most polluting vehicles driving inside the congestion charging zone, and will apply to all cars with emissions standards below what's known as Euro 4.
'Euro' standards have got progressively tougher over the years and include a limit on the Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions new vehicles are allowed to produce. For example, the most modern vehicles now have to comply to a Euro 6 emissions standard, which allows petrol and diesel cars to emit just 0.06g/km and 0.08g/km of NOx respectively.
Broadly speaking, the new T-Charge will apply to all cars built before 2005. The charge will be on top of the current £11.50 Congestion Charge, meaning drivers of these vehicles travelling in the city during peak times will have to pay a total of £21.50 – or £20.50 if using the automated charging system.
The system will be regulated by the existing network of monitoring cameras that currently police the Congestion Charge zone, and will be able to fine drivers who fail to pay the extra fee for driving a polluting car into the city.
Announcing the T-Charge, Khan said: “It's staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems. The T-charge is a vital step in tackling the dirtiest diesels.”
Citing medical research, Khan said that almost 10,000 people in the capital die annually due to polluted air.
Among the other proposals put forward by Khan last year is the extension of the planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to include the North and South Circular Roads, dramatically increasing its size. The zone will require vehicles with high pollution levels to pay a further charge – currently set at an extra £12.50 – for driving within its boundaries, and is currently scheduled to be introduced in 2020. However, Khan's plan is to bring that forward to 2019.
London already has a Low Emission Zone (LEZ), but it does not currently apply to cars or motorbikes.
Khan has also given Transport for London (TfL) the green light to develop the framework for a diesel scrappage scheme in the capital. The scheme would encourage drivers of older diesel models to scrap their cars for cash, and buy cleaner vehicles instead.
So-called ‘clean bus corridors’ will also be created, placing the cleanest buses on the dirtiest routes. However, in a sign of inconsistency, Khan has also cancelled the plans of his predecessor, Boris Johnson, to buy more of the latest generation of hybrid buses.
It's important to note that the T-Charge proposals are currently under consultation, and Londoners can have their say online by clicking here.
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