LONDON MAYOR Sadiq Khan has announced that the current congestion zone will become an ultra low emission zone in two years time. Once in place, some vehicles will have to pay £12.50 to drive through the centre of the capital – with buses, coaches and HGVs having to pay up to £100.
The Government had previously backed diesel vehicles as less polluting than petrol vehicles – but advice has now changed, as scientists have established that the particles released by diesel vehicles are in fact very dangerous. Drivers of diesel vehicles are now facing financial incentives to get them back out of the sector which many of them say they were advised to get into.
Khan’s plan is that the new charges should begin on 8th April 2019 – and he’s hoping that they will resulting in harmful emissions halving in the first year of operation. The current thinking at City Hall is that the new charges will apply to petrol-driven cars which are more than 13 years old and diesel cars over four years old when the scheme starts. It is also intended that the charges will apply 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. For the first three years, the emission charge will not apply to people living in the zone.
Khan’s charges may be unpopular with some drivers, but the air pollution caused by increasing volumes of traffic in London is also unpopular – and very costly in terms of illness it causes, especially in children.