THE Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched a new traffic charge in the capital as part of the push to reduce air pollution.
It’s dubbed the T-Charge and penalises those with higher emitting vehicles with the goal of getting more people into electrified vehicles — but what is it exactly, and how might it affect you?
What is the T-Charge?
The T-Charge, standing for toxicity charge, operates on top of the congestion charge and mainly affects petrol and diesel vehicles produced before 2006 — although it does cover some newer machinery.
Owners of the affected vehicles will be required to pay an extra £10 on top of the congestion charge when driving through central London — meaning a total of £21.50 daily.
Why has it been introduced?
The main reason for the introduction of the T-Charge is to deter owners of higher polluting vehicles to drive through London and reduce air pollution in the capital as a result.
According the Mayor of London’s office, nine thousand Londoners die prematurely from long-term exposure to air pollution while 438 schools in the capital are in areas that exceed legal air quality levels.
The T-Charge is just one piece of a puzzle to tackle air pollution — with £875 million to be invested over the next five years to combat the problem. A large chunk of which will be spent on ‘clean’ buses — £300 million to be exact.
Will it affect me?
If your car is newer than 2006, probably not.
The charge is applied to pre-Euro 4 emissions standard petrol and diesel vehicles — with the Euro 4 standard being introduced in January 2005, very few cars produced beyond 2006 fail to comply with this.
If you want to check if your vehicle is exempt from the new T-Charge, the government has set up a website that can tell you if you need to pay or not by entering your registration plate.
When does the T-Charge come into effect?
It’s now in effect, having started October 23 2017 — and is the first step towards creating an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in London, which is due to begin in 2019.
To be compliant with ULEZ, petrol cars must meet Euro 4 standards, diesel cars must meet Euro 6 regulations, as must lorries, buses and coaches.
Will the T-Charge really help reduce air pollution?
Sadiq Khan will be hoping so.
Before the launch of the T-Charge, he 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.
“Londoners overwhelmingly supported my plans to introduce this £10 charge and I will continue to do everything in my power to help protect the health of Londoners and clean our filthy air.”
With over 100,000 vehicles currently driving through the congestion charge zone on a daily basis, it’s likely to have quite the impact. How much, though? Time will tell…