T-Charge – London’s £10 Toxicity charge comes into effect
In the biggest shift since the implementation of the much-maligned London congestion charge, drivers entering the capital in cars built before 2006 being hit with an additional toxicity charge of £10 per day. This is alongside the current congestion charge of £11.50 per day.
For anyone that lives or works in the big smoke, it’s quickly obvious that London does have a massive issue with air quality, or the lack thereof. In 2017 it took just three days into the year for London to surpass the EU-approved annual limit for pollution.
There are varying estimates of anywhere from 9,000 to 40,000 in terms of the numbers of yearly deaths from London’s air quality. This doesn’t count the large numbers of residents who suffer from breathing conditions that relate to the pollution levels.
The new T-Charge (toxicity charge) comes into force from 23 October 2017. Any non-Euro IV-compliant (basically pre-2006 registered) powered vehicle will be hit with this new daily charge if it enters the current congestion charging zone. It’s estimated that some 30,000 motorists will be subject to the charge each month during the 7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday charging period. Because of course pollution doesn’t happen outside of these times.
What, if any effect this has on pollution remains to be seen. In recent years the number of car journeys in congestion charging zone has fallen, but the use of private hire taxi’s and industrial vehicles has risen meaning that congestion and travel time have remained the similar in the six years ending 2013.
In 2014 Transport for London published their roadmap for a cleaner London. Oddly it quoted 2010 figures for NOx emissions figures. These numbers confirmed at the time that all transportation was responsible for a whopping 63% of emissions in Greater London. Breaking this down, petrol and diesel-powered cars were only responsible for 18% of this amount.
So, is this charge aimed at the correct sector? – Critics will say that it doesn’t go far enough to discourage driving the most polluting cars, or that it’s merely unfairly targeting those who cannot afford (or don’t want to) to swap their older cars for a newer and more expensive, low emission model.
Let’s not forget that the T-Charge is the first phase of what will become the ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ 2020, which will only allow the most efficient (Euro 6 complaint) cars into the centre of London. This will also represent a far stricter 24 hours a day, seven days a week charging structure for the owners of non-complaint vehicles.
Is the T-Charge an effective way of reducing pollution or a simple money grab from the owners of older vehicles? Join the discussion in #rantbox live chat.