The most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes to drive through central London will face a charge of up to £24 a day from 2019.
It is part of London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to crack down on gas-guzzling vehicles and clean up the city’s toxic air.
He made the announcement at the Museum of London this morning, where a group of children took part in a ‘Great Smog’ workshop.
Mr Khan previously confirmed the £10 T-Charge, which will come into effect from October this year.
He is now proposing to replace it by introducing the “world’s first” Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in central London from 8th April 2019 – six months earlier than expected – covering the same area as the existing congestion charging zone.
Petrol vehicles that don’t meet the Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that don’t meet the Euro 6 standards will have to pay a ULEZ daily fee – £12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes.
The total cost, with the congestion charge added, will be £24 a day.
Buses, coaches and high duty vehicles (HGVs) will be charged £100 to drive in the zone. Black cabs will be exempt from the ULEZ charge while minicabs like Uber will have to pay.
City Hall expects the introduction of ULEZ to help reduce road transport NOx emissions by nearly 50% by 2020.
The mayor told ELN: “I’m really concerned about the air in London – the air in London is lethal. It’s responsible for more than 9,000 early deaths each year, more than 40,000 early deaths across the country. Children in parts of London have defective lungs because of the poor quality air. More than 430 schools are in parts of London where the air is illegal.
“I’m not willing to stand by and do nothing so we’re taking bold and decisive action, consulting today up to June on the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone, which will mean the most polluting vehicles pay an additional charge if they come into central London.”
He believes the government isn’t doing “anywhere near enough” to address poor air quality in the country.
Mr Khan suggests the government should set out “bold plans”, including a new Clean Air Act for the 21st century that deals with issues like construction and housing, a national diesel scrappage scheme to help motorists move to cleaner vehicles and give powers and resources to local government so they can take action to clean up the air.
He also plans a London-wide expansion of the ULEZ for heavily polluting buses, coaches and lorries to take place in 2020 and up to the North and South Circular roads for cars and vans in 2021.
The mayor recently announced a new ‘cleaner vehicle checker’ will be launched this autumn to help help consumers identify and avoid buying the most polluting vehicles.