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LONDON emission curbs are accelerated with today’s introduction of the toxicity or T-Charge to be followed in just 17 months by the new ULEZ or Ultra Low Emission Zone. And the Mayor’s new independent Cleaner Vehicle Checker has now gone live.

The £10 T-Charge announced earlier this year – officially called the emissions surcharge – applies throughout the Congestion Charge zone during the same hours Monday to Friday.

Like the Congestion Charge it will exclude motorcycles and, by its nature, offer exemption to low emission (sub-75g/km CO2) cars and vans.

The level is such that you could lease a new car or van for the T-Charge outlay alone.

Advancement of former Mayor Boris Johnson’s ULEZ by 17 months from September 2020 to April 2019, as proposed by Mayor Sadiq Khan in April, puts forward  £12/day charging 24/7 all year, nets older motorcycles too, and tougher emission curbs for diesels to include particulates as well as nitrogen oxides.

Officially the consultation on the ULEZ advancement is due to run until November 10 but according to Leonie Cooper AM, chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, it’s a done deal.

Today she said: “We absolutely must do more to prevent premature deaths and stunting children’s lungs from air pollution – so we welcome the Mayor’s T-Charge as a first step towards making London’s air less toxic.

“However, the London Assembly Environment Committee believes even greater results could be achieved if the measures were implemented at a faster pace.

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The Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will take effect in April 8 2019  – 17 months earlier than originally proposed – and exemption from that will require the Euro 6 standard for diesels.

“Raising awareness of this and discouraging the use of diesel vehicles in favour of much cleaner alternatives, should be top of the agenda. So should complementary measures to help shift the transportation habits of Londoners towards cheaper alternatives such as buses or trains and healthier options such as walking and cycling. ‎

“We’d also like the government to step up and introduce a diesel scrappage scheme to help move things forward quickly.”

Alphabet Guide to T-Charge & ULEZ charge plan

  • Alphabet has issued a useful online guide that points out: “Very few vehicles registered in the past 12 years will incur the new T-Charge in London. Almost no company cars and only a small proportion of private cars used on business (whose average age is estimated to be seven years) will have to pay it.”
  • But it warns on ULEZ: “From 2019 onwards, many diesel cars on the road today that were registered between 2005 and 2015 will incur the T-Charge [ULEZ charge] too.”
  • Click here for the Alphabet Guide

Provision for retro-fit technology

Transport for London says the T-Charge and ULEZ do allow for the use of retrofit technology to enable older vehicles to meet the required emission standards for both oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).

These requirements are tighter than the current standards for PM for the London-wide Low Emission Zone. Retrofit technologies will need to be certified by the government’s Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS).

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TfL adds: “We must then be satisfied that a vehicle has an approved technology fitted that meets our requirements. We are currently developing the process for identifying approved retrofitted vehicles. Once this is confirmed, operators will be able to register their retrofitted vehicle with TfL and not have to pay the charge.

“In the meantime, operators of older vehicles, including those with retrofitted technology to meet the Euro IV PM standard, will need to pay the T-Charge to travel in the zone.”

Current charge exemptions

  • Motorcycles and scooters exempt from Congestion Charge and T-Charge
  • Cars or vans (not exceeding 3.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) which emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and that meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality qualify for a 100% discount on the Congestion Charge.
  • Any car registered as new with the DVLA on or after 1 January 2011 is deemed to meet the Euro 5 standard.
  • Some cars registered before this date will also meet the Euro 5 standard. Vans should be registered as new on or after 1 January 2012 to meet Euro 5.
  • Also exempt are electric and plug-in hybrids approved as an ultra-low emission vehicle by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles.


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