T-Charge: London Emission Charge Aims to Fight Toxic Vehicle Pollution in Capital

A £10 traffic charge aims to improve the health of the capital’s residents. But how could it affect businesses in the city?

What is the T-Charge?

A new London emission charge for drivers of older, polluting vehicles has come into force today.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s £10 T-Charge has been introduced in a bid to tackle car pollution emissions in the capital. The mayor’s office said thousands of Londoners die prematurely each year as a result of constant subjection to air pollution. More than 400 schools in the capital are run in areas which exceed legal air quality levels.

The emission surcharge operates within the same area as the London congestion charge (currently £11.50). This means drivers could be slapped with a £21.50 fee if affected by this new London emission charge. The policy mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006 and could affect over 10,000 motorists.

The T-Charge will operate between 07:00 and 18:00, Monday to Friday.

London Pollution

London’s air pollution has been an ongoing and worsening issue, with car emissions one of the main causes of air pollution in the city. The new charge aims to reduce car pollution in the city, rejuvenate the London air quality and improve the health of residents.

Petrol and diesel vehicles release toxic emissions such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and unburnt hydrocarbons. These mostly invisible gases, pollute the air and are harmful to breathe in.

The health effects of car pollution include being at a higher risk for asthmas and other respiratory diseases, and it has also been linked to strokes.

How could the T-Charge affect businesses?

However, there are concerns about how this surcharge may affect businesses that operate in the area, such as couriers and taxi drivers.

It could penalise those who already have to fork out for additional costs, such as courier vehicle insurance. For instance, a self-employed courier driver working in the congestion zone could potentially pay £107 a week, adding up to over £5,000 a year, thereby affecting how much a courier driver earns.

That’s a hefty fee to pay on top of courier car insurance and extra cover required for their employment.

Ultra-Low Emission Zone

The T-Charge is the first part of Mayor Khan’s package-plan to clean up the air in London.

His scheme to cut air pollution includes extending the Ultra-Low Emission Zone beyond Central London.

From 2018, the mayor said no more new diesel taxis will be licensed in London. Taxi drivers will be given the grant to scrap their old vehicles and to help buy new plug-in zero emissions taxis. However, there are concerns about the cost of running these type of vehicles, such as taxi insurance.

Diesel double-decker buses will be phased out from the capital’s transport fleet from 2018. All new buses manufactured will be hydrogen.

He also advocates a national diesel scrappage scheme, which would have to be implemented by the government.

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