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Khan’s Toxicity Charge comes into force

Words: Laura Edgar
T-Charge applies to central London / iStock-512106443

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has today (23 October) launched the ‘world’s toughest’ emission charge for older, more polluting vehicles as he tries to tackle air pollution in the capital.

The £10 Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) will be in force from 7am to 6pm every weekday.

Drivers of older, more polluting petrol and diesel cars will pay both the T-Charge and the Congestion Charge, totalling £21.50, when they drive in zone 1.

According to the mayor’s office, up to 34,000 vehicles every month could be liable for the T-Charge, which affects those that do not meet the Euro 4 standard for both PM and NOx emissions. These are typically vehicles registered before 2006, but Transport for London (TfL) has advised people who have a car registered before 2008 to check if their vehicle is eligible for the charge.

Khan has said he plans to introduce the Ultra-Low Emission Zone as early as April 2019, which will affect more vehicles in the congestion zone, including all diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 Standards.

He launched the T-Charge as he visited the UCL Day Nursery in Bloomsbury, which has installed a ‘pollution room’ where children can play indoors on days with high or very high pollution. The room is used to help young children struggling with asthma or breathing difficulties made worse by toxic air.  

Khan 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 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.”

The mayor said he urgently needs government to “step up and face their responsibilities” by delivering a diesel scrappage fund and a Cleaner Air Act that is fit for purpose.

Sukalpa Biswas senior consultant, infrastructure asset management at infrastructure services provider Yotta, said:

“While there is a significant amount of alternative transport options in London, the new T-Charge scheme is not a viable way of helping the city to become greener. Thoughts also must be given to couriers and delivery drivers who do not necessarily have an alternative way of transporting goods to businesses in the city. It’s fine to have a target to reach zero emissions by reducing air pollution, but pushing everyone to buy electric cars is not reasonable as there is still a question of affordability. The alternative option of commuting has to be affordable and easily reachable without causing much disruption to those that live and work there.”

Biswas said it is important to consider what infrastructure is required to to make London a green city. The T-Charge is trying to encourage the uptake of new or electric cars, but London’s infrastructure is “not yet ready to accommodate a mass influx of these types of vehicles”.

“Electric vehicles will all need regular charging points but they are not currently widely available in central London.”

Image credit | iStock