It has recently been announced that there are plans in place for an emissions charge, scrappage scheme and larger Ultra Low Emission Zone to improve air quality.

New London Mayor Sadiq Khan proposed that drivers in London with older, high-polluting vehicles should pay an ‘Emissions Surcharge’ to improve recognition of their impact on air quality. This surcharge could be introduced as early as 2017, he announced during his speech at Great Ormond Street Hospital on the Clean Air Act’s 60th anniversary.

The vehicles in the firing line are those registered prior to 2005. This “T-charge” (toxicity charge) would be similar to the existing Congestion Charge Zone during its hours of operation and its proposed cost is £10 per day with a 90% discount for local residents. However, the Emissions Surcharge would be held in place in addition to the £11.50 Congestion Charge.

The Mayor said: “This would be the toughest crackdown on the most polluting vehicles by any major city around the world. Going forward, Londoners need to consider more carefully what type of vehicle they choose to drive”.

This surcharge would act as an “interim measure” before the Ultra Low Emission Zone begins in 2020. The Mayor explained that he hopes for the area to be extended beyond the Congestion Charge Zone to the North Circular and South Circular roads.

Mr Khan also proposed the Diesel Vehicle Scrappage Scheme: “Old diesel cars can emit up to 20 times as much pollution as petrol equivalents. 90% of road transport Nitrogen Dioxide emissions in Central London now come from diesel”.

A plan is therefore being formulated by Transport for London to create a new diesel vehicle scrappage scheme. Mr Khan is hoping that this will encourage motorists to buy new, environmentally-friendly vehicles and he claims that this should be part of a national initiative back by government.

He continued by talking about the dangers of air pollution: “Air pollution in London today is literally killing Londoners. It is one of the biggest challenges we face as a city and unlike the smoky pollution of the past, today’s pollution is a silent and hidden killer. You can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it – but we know it’s seriously damaging health”.

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