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Sadiq Kahn’s T-Charge: The new Congestion Charge emissions surcharge

London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s toxicity charge has nothing to do with System of a Down, but the emissions surcharge is designed to tackle the toxicity of our city. The target is dirty cars driving into central London – here is what you need to know about the ‘T-Charge’, including when you may have to start paying it.

Sadiq Khan will be introducing what he has dubbed a ‘T-charge’, which is short for ‘toxicity charge’. It is designed to deter overly-polluting vehicles from entering central London and stems from the need to do something about the issue of air pollution, which is really starting to do damage.

T-Charge: How does it affect the Congestion Charge?

The Congestion Charge paid to enter certain areas of London currently costs £11.50 per day, but can be reduced to £10.50 if you use Auto Pay. A vehicle costs £10 to register. It is charged between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.

After the T-Charge kicks in, you can expect to pay another £10 per day. That means a diesel car that fails to meet emissions requirements will cost as much as £21.50 per day. Five days a week for every week of the year and you can say bye to £5,590. Put that in your exhaust pipe and smoke it!

T-Charge: What vehicles are going to be hit?

The T-Charge is designed to hit cars that fail to meet Euro 4 emissions targets, which means the majority of vehicles from earlier than 2006.

T-Charge: When will it affect me?

Cars, buses, minibuses and heavy vehicles that fail to meet the emissions target will have to pay the extra £10 T-Charge from the 23rd of October, 2017.

T-Charge: How do I know if my vehicle can avoid it?

To make life easier for motorists, the Government has provided a vehicle compliance checker tool, which lets you see if your vehicle meets the required standard.

Motorcycles are exempt from the Emissions Surcharge, but quadricycles and motorised tricycles will need to meet Euro 3 emissions. Cars must meet Euro 4 regulations and HGVs while buses and trucks must meet Euro IV regulations.

Seems like a cash grab. Is air pollution really all that bad?

It has been estimated that 9,000 Londoners die prematurely because of London’s air pollution problem, which could see the country fined for failing to hit targets stipulated by Europe.

Though the exacty number of deaths could be argued, diesel particulates have been proven to give you cancer and those inhaling exhaust fumes all day will pay the price ─ that includes little Johnny at the school gates. It is an issue that can only put more strain on the already burdeoned NHS.

T-Charge: What does Sadiq Khan say about it?

“The T-Charge is a vital step in tackling the dirtiest diesels before I introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone as early as 2019,” Khan said at the announcement of the T-Charge.
 
“I will continue to do everything in my power to help protect the health of Londoners and clean our filthy air. But now is the time for Government to show real leadership and join me by introducing a diesel scrappage fund and bring in the new Clean Air Act we desperately need,” he added.

T-Charge: Any critics?

Tory environment spokesman Shaun Bailey criticised Khan’s Emissions Surcharge when it was first announced, calling it a “pointless pollution tax” that will cost Londoners £23-million annually and harm small businesses and sole traders.

He added that it will do little to actually reduce pollution, but will cost small businesses with older vehicles an extra £2,600 per year to renew their vehicles.

Backing up this argument is the fact the TfL assessment of the scheme allegedly said: “As this scheme affects just seven per cent of vehicles entering the C-Charge zone, the anticipated reduction in air pollution is low.”

It has since been argued that the £23-million cost is misleading as City Hall insiders expect more than 40 per cent of businesses to switch to cleaner vehicles in the first year alone. Businesses that can afford a new vehicle or vehicles, presumably.

At least there is a Government plug-in grant of £2,500 to £4,500 or up to 35 per cent of the cost of a new car (electric, hybrid or plug-in hybrid) and up to £8,000 or 20 per cent of the cost of a new van. Motorcycles can enjoy a 20 per cent grant up to £1,500 providing it meets certain requirements.

£875-million has been set aside for the next five years to help tackle London’s air pollution problem.

T-Charge: What London areas will be affected?

Take a look at the following map for an outline of the areas that will face the T-Charge in addition to the standard Congestion Charge.

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