London congestion charge extension to become more restrictive and expensive
London’s congestion charge is set to be extended under new plans from Mayor Sadiq Khan, who wants to charge the most heavily polluting cars and vans a daily fee of £12.50 to enter the city centre from 2019.
Asthma-sufferer Khan, who was elected less than a year ago, has promised to make London one of the greenest cities in the world, with more electric buses and charging points for cars.
An Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), in which cars must meet stringent emissions standards to enter or pay a charge, will now be rolled out from April 2019 instead of September 2020 as previously planned by his predecessor.
“The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing,” Khan said.
The mayor will also launch a consultation to expand the zone to the whole of London from 2020 for buses, coaches and lorries and to an area spanning London city airport in the east to Tottenham’s White Hart Lane football stadium in the north, Kew Gardens in the west and Clapham Common in the south for cars from 2021.
ULEZ will apply to all petrol vehicles which do not meet Euro 4 emissions standards and all diesel models which do not comply with Euro 6 standards.
The current congestion charge is only applicable between the hours of 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, but the new plans could now also include Saturday and extend the hours up to 11pm according to the LBC website.
The Mayor has thus far refuted this claim.
Several cities such as Paris, Stuttgart, Athens, Brussels and Madrid are trying to crack down on polluting vehicles by proposing bans, fines and restrictions, partly in response to reports of poor air quality harming people’s health.
In February, Khan said that London could follow Paris in instituting an outright ban on the most polluting diesel cars in the future or restrict their usage on days with the highest pollution concentrations.
Last month, the London Taxi Company approved the construction of a new £300m car plant devoted to constructing electric versions of the famous London black cab.
Public and political concern has also been heightened since the Volkswagen emissions scandal broke in September 2015, when the carmaker admitted to installing illicit software in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide and cheating US emissions tests.