The T-Charge, starting today, 23rd October 2017, is aimed at deterring the drivers of the most toxic vehicles from driving in central London. The following is taken from the press release issued by the London Mayor’s Office —
- World’s toughest emission charge for older more polluting vehicles introduced in London to help tackle toxic air pollution
- The new £10 Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) will operate on top of £11.50 Congestion Charge.
- Motorists will pay a total of £21.50 a day to drive a pre-Euro 4 vehicle into central London zone.
- Move is part of series of hard-hitting measures Sadiq, (Sadiq Khan, London Mayor), is delivering to protect public from London’s lethal air.
The world’s toughest emission standard, the £10 Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) to help tackle London’s lethal air pollution and get older more polluting cars off the roads has today, (Monday 23rd October 2017), been introduced by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.
From 7am drivers of older, more polluting petrol and the dirtiest diesel vehicles will pay the new T-Charge, plus the Congestion Charge (C-Charge) – a total of £21.50 (£10 T-Charge and £11.50 C-Charge) every weekday they drive in the zone from 7am-6pm.
Up to 34,000 polluting vehicles every month could be liable for the T-Charge, which affects those that do not meet the Euro 4 standards for both PM and NOx emissions. Since 1st January 2017 these polluting vehicles have made around 2.6 million trips within the zone, contributing to London’s toxic air.
Pre-Euro 4 vehicles are typically those registered before 2006 that are approximately over 12 years old, but TfL, (Transport for London), advise anyone who has a car registered before 2008 to check if their vehicle is eligible for the charge. To help motorists TfL have a free online vehicle checker available on their website www.tfl.gov.uk/t-charge. Over the last six months more than 153,000 people have already checked to find out if their vehicle will be affected.
Why do This?
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the T-Charge to tackle London’s filthy air pollution and prepare Londoners for the early introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which he is proposing to introduce as early as April 2019 and which will affect thousands more vehicles in the existing congestion zone, including all diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards.
Filthy air is causing a public-health crisis in the capital. Recent health data has shown 7.9 million Londoners – nearly 95 per cent of the population – live in areas exceeding the World Health Organisation guidelines on toxic air quality particles (known as PM2.5). It is estimated that air pollution contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year in London, as well as having effects over the course of our lives, from smaller lungs in our children to greater risk of dementia and strokes when we get older.
What the Mayor Says
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “As Mayor I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air. The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces, with thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution, must be addressed.
“Today marks a major milestone in this journey with the introduction of the T-Charge to encourage motorists to ditch polluting, harmful vehicles.
“London now has the world’s toughest emission standard with older more polluting vehicles paying up to £21.50 a day to drive in the centre of the city. The T-charge is a stepping stone to the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, which could be introduced as early as 2019.
“This is the time to stand up and join the battle to clear the toxic air we are forced to breathe. I am transforming our bus fleet, getting rid of the oldest polluting taxis and creating healthier streets that will leave a lasting legacy for our children. But I can’t do this alone. I urgently need, (National), government to step up and face their responsibilities by delivering a diesel scrappage fund and a Cleaner Air Act that is fit for purpose. I also need Londoners to work with me so we can phase out the use of the dirtiest polluting vehicles from our roads”.
With over half of air pollutants in the capital caused by road transport and a fall in the UK sales of diesel vehicles, the Mayor wants to encourage people to make fewer journeys in polluting vehicles, and consider ditching the dirtiest diesels for greener methods of transport including using public transport, walking or cycling.
The T-Charge is just one of the wide range of measures the Mayor is introducing to improve London’s toxic air quality – from doubling funding spent on tackling air quality to £875million (over the next five years) and consulting on an earlier introduction of the central London ULEZ in 2019, to developing proposals for a London-wide Euro VI standard for heavy vehicles in 2020 and expanding the ULEZ up to the North/South Circular roads for cars, vans and motorcycles in 2021.
What Others Say
Prof. Stephen Holgate, from the Royal College of Physicians said: “We now know that air pollution has a substantial impact on many chronic long-term conditions, increasing strokes and heart attacks in susceptible individuals. The implementation of the T-charge is a positive step towards cleaning up London’s air and it is showing to the world that it is possible to change behaviours in order to reduce the harms from high polluting vehicles. Such actions will improve the air quality in our capital and in time will save lives.’
Rosie Rogers, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace said: “It’s just not possible to clean up London’s air without cleaning up London’s roads, and that’s why we support the Mayor’s first steps to tackle air pollution by introducing the T-charge. London now joins Paris, Copenhagen and many other progressive cities in taking urgent steps towards removing polluting diesel cars from their streets. The ball is now in the court of our national government to grasp the urgency of the crisis and take more meaningful action to reduce the illegal levels of air pollution seriously harming people’s health across the UK.”
Dr Penny Woods, Chief Executive of the British Lung Foundation, said:”The T-charge is an important step from the Mayor of London to deter our most polluting and harmful vehicles from entering Central London. We know toxic air can have a devastating impact on our health. This is why we look forward to seeing the Mayor go further and launch the Ultra-Low Emission Zone. However, if we are ever going to properly tackle air pollution the Government must commit to a fair and ambitious new Clean Air Act.”
Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation, said:“ Dangerous levels of air pollution in London are damaging the heart health of the public – both healthy individuals and especially those with heart disease. There is an urgent need to protect Londoners from inhaling toxic air – particularly from small particles in diesel fumes which our research shows increases the risk of potentially fatal heart attacks and strokes. We welcome this bold action from the Mayor and hope that he continues to prioritise cleaning up London’s harmful air.”
What the Mayor Wants the National Government to Do
The Mayor wants to work with the government to help tackle dangerous air pollution once and for all. Government actions should include:
– Setting up a diesel scrappage fund: The Mayor has called on government to implement his new proposals for a national ‘dirty’ diesel scrappage fund that financially compensates motorists and enables government to get a grip on killer toxic air. Proposals include £3,500 for up to 70,000 polluting London van and minibus drivers to buy cleaner vehicles; £2,000 credit scheme to help low-income London families scrap up to 130,000 cars and £1,000 to help scrap London’s oldest taxis – with additional support by the Mayor.
– Producing a 21st century Clean Air Act: New legislation would provide the overarching framework for action, dragging the law up to date to cope with the massive air quality challenges we face today. This would provide a legally enforceable right to clean air – standards currently enforced by the European Union and the Government should introduce new powers to better regulate all sources of emissions, not just road transport, and give powers to local authorities.
– Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and other fiscal reforms: It is essential that national policy is pulling people in the right direction. Unfortunately VED continues to make the purchase of diesel cars more attractive.
What Londoners Think
A recent British Heart Foundation poll found that nearly half (45%) of Londoners are worried about living in the city due to dangerous levels of air pollution. The statistics reveal that 81% of Londoners believe the current air pollution levels are putting their health at risk and over a third are put off running (37%) or cycling (38%) in the city because of the deadly air. Research shows that both long-term and short-term exposure to air pollution can make existing heart conditions worse and can increase the risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke amongst vulnerable groups
My Thoughts on This —
Sadiq Khan is a member of the Labour Party, so his policies are more socialist than those of our right-wing government. Their policy is summed up by David Cameron’s famous remark of “cut the green crap”. It is only through insistence by the courts, and the European Union, that they have even started to address environmental issues. They have done nothing at all about the unacceptable levels of air pollution in many UK cities.
My view is that politicians are far too slow to act, and the measures that they propose are much too far in the future to be of any relevance for today’s problems. The government talk about a vague ban on ICE vehicles in about 30 years’ time. At that time, it will be much too late, and they will not even be in power to take any responsibility for it. Such proposals are mere “window dressing”, that do not even begin to respond to the environmental crisis in which we are living today. They make it appear that an indifferent government have a commitment to improvement, which, in reality, they entirely lack.
Sadiq Khan is, commendably, introducing this measure today, with a promise of more to come. This is probably in the shortest timescale that can practically be achieved, to allow time for alternatives to be implemented. London is moving towards electric taxis and buses, and the tube trains of course are already electric. We all know that EVs are the future, but we need the future right now. Let us hope that this positive action proves to be the small pebble thrown in the mountain that causes an avalanche of beneficial change.