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Khan announces ‘world’s tightest’ emission charges for 2019

London authorities will introduce an ‘Ultra-low Emission Zone’ (ULEZ) to replace the recently launched T-charge in 2019.

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced that the charge will work in addition to the congestion charge but will be active 24 hours a day all week – not just on weekdays.

Money raised through the charge will be used to maintain Transport for London’s fleet in an effort to increase efficiency and sustainability on public transport.

Drivers within the ULEZ will be subject to two different charges depending on their vehicle. Cars, vans and motorbikes will be charged £12.50 a day while buses, coaches and lorries will be charged £100.

The charge, scheduled to kick-off in April 2019, will operate in the same area as the current toxicity charge. However, it is aimed at all diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards and most petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4, meaning it will affect an estimated 60,000 vehicles compared to the previous 6,500.

TfL believes the limits are the toughest in the world, suggesting that drivers with a diesel car of four years old or more should check whether they will be subject to the charge.

The transport authority hope that these measures will reduce London’s emissions by an additional 20% compared to the current charges. More than 30,000 people in central London, and 100,000 people across London, are expected to no longer live in areas exceeding the NO2 limits.

“London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation,” Khan commented. “We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death. I am determined to take the bold action needed to address this scourge once and for all.

“So, I am pleased to confirm that from 8 April 2019 – 17 months earlier than planned – stricter standards for diesel vehicles will apply 24/7 across central London. This builds on the success of the T-Charge and is part of my comprehensive plan to clean London’s air.”

The mayor then called on the government to provide more support for drivers making the switch to lower emission cars by developing scrappage schemes for older vehicles.

Toxicity in the capital has become an increasing problem in recent years, with nearly 95% of residents living in areas which the World Health Organisation (WHO) deem as exceeding guidelines.

Chief executive of the British Lung Foundation, Dr Penny Woods, explained: “Air pollution on many of London’s roads is at illegal and harmful levels. This is why we strongly support the early implementation of the ULEZ.

“Air pollution leaves people coughing, breathless and at risk of long term health concerns. For those with lung conditions it could leave them completely housebound to avoid the worsening of their health. Early implementation of the ULEZ could dramatically improve people’s quality of life and reduce the burden on health services.”

This charge is part of a wider plan for London, with the zone expected to be widened by 2021 and plans for London-wide charges for buses, coaches and lorries.

Rosie Rogers, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Following the introduction of the T-Charge last month, it’s good to see the mayor pushing forward with the next step of his plan to restrict diesel cars in central London.

“It will make a big difference to air pollution, which contributes to serious health problems for so many people in the capital. Now diesel is being rejected not only by consumers, with sales dropping for six consecutive months, but by cities too.”

Consultation on the charge took place between April and June this year, with results available here.

To check if your vehicle meets the new standards click here.

Top image: Yui Mok PA Wire

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