Guardian News and Media/London
Drivers of the most polluting vehicles must from now on pay a daily charge of up to £21.50 to drive in to central London. Starting yesterday, people driving older, more polluting petrol and diesel vehicles are liable for the £10 T-charge, on top of the congestion charge of £11.50, which has been in place since 2003.
The charge has been introduced in an effort to improve air quality in the capital, where legal pollution limits are regularly exceeded.
The mayor, Sadiq Khan, said he wanted to prepare Londoners for the ultra-low emission zone being introduced in April 2019.
“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,” he said.
“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 emissions standard with older, more polluting vehicles paying up to £21.50 a day to drive in the centre of the city. This is the time to stand up and join the battle to clear the toxic air we are forced to breathe.”
The charge came into effect at 7am yesterday. It is applicable to pre-Euro 4 vehicles in the zone, which covers all of central London to the south of King’s Cross station, to the east of Hyde Park, west of the Tower of London and north of Elephant and Castle.
Pre-Euro 4 vehicles are typically those registered before 2006, but Transport for London suggests that anyone who has a vehicle registered before 2008 check if it is liable for the charge.
The total daily levy can be reduced by £1 if drivers register to pay the congestion charge automatically. People living within the zone and driving cars covered by the new charge are eligible to pay as little as £11.05 a day in total for the two.
Speaking to Sky News yesterday morning, Khan said the T-charge would cost about £7mn a year, which he said was a “price worth paying”. He added that the ultra-low emission zone, once introduced, would make money that would then be ring-fenced for clean air initiatives.
And he defended the plan against claims it would do little to solve the problem because relatively few vehicles are covered by it, saying it was part of series of measures, including the forthcoming introduction of the ultra-low emission zone.
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