If you haven’t driven in London for a while and you’re about to, then you might be in for a shock. Following on from the congestion charge and the Low Emission Zone, we now have the T-charge!
Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has started his crusade to make London one of the world’s greenest cities, and is targeting the most polluting vehicles .
The T-Charge is a £10 levy on those who drive older petrol and diesel vehicles in central London and it’s in addition to the £11.50 congestion charge making it £21.50 per day. This means it would cost an eye watering £107.50 to drive into central London 5 days a week.
How does the system work?
The system uses all the same cameras and payment technology that the existing congestion charge does.
Anyone who doesn’t pay the charge will be fined £130, though TfL generously reduce this to £65 if you pay promptly. (Within 2 weeks)
Most privately owned vehicles registered before 2006 will have to pay an extra £10 to drive in London. The new charge is payable between 7am and 6pm Monday – Friday excluding Bank Holidays and the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
Arguments on both sides
Some say the new legislation doesn’t go far enough and want all diesel vehicles banned, old, new and even buses and taxis.
On the other side of the argument the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said it will make London very uncompetitive. Whilst London’s Conservative MP’s say the T-charge will hit poorer drivers.
Khan’s says “10,000 Londoners a year die prematurely due to long-term exposure to air pollution” and therefore something has to be done, but others say the benefits of this new charge will make such a small difference that it is nothing more than a PR exercise by the Mayor.
Critics of the T-charge say that it is penalising drivers while having minimal effect on the capital’s air, with nitrogen oxide levels only expected to fall by around 2%.
About the only group totally happy with this are motorcycle riders who are not liable for the T-charge.
Fire, police and ambulance vehicles, TfL registered taxis; mini-cabs as well as breakdown recovery vehicles are exempt from the charge.
If you live within the T-charge zone or are a blue badge holder you are entitled to discount.
How many are affected?
Possibly 30,000 vehicles per month could be paying the new extra charge if they don’t change their motoring habits, according to TfL data.
Many motorists claim that they have not seen any signage for the T-charge and that it had been introduced with very little warning.
It will get worse/better
Depending on your point of view The T-Charge is just the start as the “Ultra Low Emission Zone” with even tighter restrictions is coming into play from 2019.
Some motoring groups are concerned that drivers on low incomes will be hit hardest by the T-charge, but were not totally against the new scheme as most agree something needs to be done.
The sale of new diesel cars in and around London has dropped by 33% in the last 12 months and it will decline still further when people factor in this new charge. The value of pre 2006 second hand cars is also likely to be adversely affected.