Toxicity charge comes into force in central London

Drivers in London are now required to pay an additional charge to use their cars in the centre of the city from today (23 October), following the introduction of the ‘T-charge’.

The charge, which is an additional £10 charge on top of what drivers will already pay to enter the Congestion Charge Zone applies to petrol and diesel vehicles which fall below the Euro 4 emission standard during weekdays.

Charges have increased to enter the Congestion Charge Zone in central London

Euro 4 stipulates that vehicles must emit no more than 0.08g/km of NOx for petrol vehicles or 0.25g/km for diesel to achieve the standard.

This will essentially mean that cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs built prior to 2005 will be subject to a charge of more than £20 per day to enter the centre of London. Transport for London has estimated that as many as 8,850 vehicles will be subject to the charge every day.

Some exemptions exist, with motorcycles, mopeds and scooters currently exempt from the Congestion Charge also exempt from the T-Charge, while residents registered for the Congestion Charge Residents’ Discount will automatically be registered for a 90% discount on the T-Charge.

Taxis exempt from the current congestion charge will also not have to pay the T-Charge.

‘Milestone’

Commenting on the measure, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, described the introduction of the T-Charge as a ‘major milestone’ in efforts to tackle air pollution.

He said: “As Mayor I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air. The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces, with thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution, must be addressed.

‘Milestone’ London Mayor Sadiq Khan has welcomed the introduction of the T-Charge

“Today marks a major milestone in this journey with the introduction of the T-Charge to encourage motorists to ditch polluting, harmful vehicles.

“London now has the world’s toughest emission standard with older more polluting vehicles paying up to £21.50 a day to drive in the centre of the city. The T-charge is a stepping stone to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which could be introduced as early as 2019.

“This is the time to stand up and join the battle to clear the toxic air we are forced to breathe. I am transforming our bus fleet, getting rid of the oldest polluting taxis and creating healthier streets that will leave a lasting legacy for our children. But I can’t do this alone. I urgently need government to step up and face their responsibilities by delivering a diesel scrappage fund and a Cleaner Air Act that is fit for purpose. I also need Londoners to work with me so we can phase out the use of the dirtiest polluting vehicles from our roads.”

ULEZ

The Emissions Surcharge is one of a series of measures introduced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in a bid to improve air quality in the capital, and will be superceded by the introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) which will eventually be in effect across Greater London.

The ULEZ will first come into effect in central London from April 2019, having been brought forward 18 months by Sadiq Khan, before its expected roll out across Greater London for heavy diesel vehicles, including buses, coaches and lorries in 2020, and up to the North and South Circular roads for cars and vans in 2021.

Area covered by the Congestion and Toxicity Charges (Source: TfL)

Introduction of the T-charge has been welcomed by Leonie Cooper, chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, who called for further measures to tackle air pollution in the capital.

She said: “We absolutely must do more to prevent premature deaths and stunting children’s lungs from air pollution – so we welcome the Mayor’s T-Charge as a first step towards making London’s air less toxic. However, the London Assembly Environment Committee believes even greater results could be achieved if the measures were implemented at a faster pace.

“The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will take effect in 2019 and exemption from that will require the Euro 6 standard for diesels.

“Raising awareness of this and discouraging the use of diesel vehicles in favour of much cleaner alternatives, should be top of the agenda. So should complementary measures to help shift the transportation habits of Londoners towards cheaper alternatives such as buses or trains and healthier options such as walking and cycling. ‎We’d also like the government to step up and introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to help move things forward quickly.”

Criticism

However, London Conservatives have criticised the measure, describing it as an ‘attack on London’s poorest drivers and small businesses. London Assembly member Shaun Bailey, said: “Sadiq Khan tells us he is desperate to clean up London’s harmful emissions but this road tax won’t make a dent. I will be happy to support the Mayor when he comes forward with policies that support London and not just his image.

“By boasting about a policy that so disproportionately penalises London’s poorest drivers and puts jobs at risk, the Mayor is simply blowing more smoke into the capital’s already-polluted atmosphere.”

Related Links
TfL – T-Charge information