The threshold for exemption from the London Congestion Charge is to be reduced from 100g/km to 75g/km.
From 1 July only cars and vans that emit less than 75g/km and are Euro V-compliant, or those that are pure electric vehicles, will be exempt from the charge. In a double blow to London’s motorists, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson, revealed a £10 increase in penalty charges - taking the fine up to £130 for late payment.
In a concession to motorists who have purchased a car on the basis of its charge exemption, however, Transport for London is to offer a ‘Sunset Period’ of three years. That means vehicles already registered for the Greener Vehicle Discount will have the waiver transferred to the new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), guaranteeing their exemption until 24 June, 2016.
Currently no diesel-powered car or van is eligible for the ULED. TfL claims the move is to tackle the “increasing dieselisation” of vehicles operating in London. It says diesel car sales have grown from 10 per cent to 50 per cent in the last ten years, partly in reaction to low carbon incentives in the capital.
No vehicles that operate solely using a petrol engine will be eligible either. Only plug-in hybrids and range-extended electric vehicles, such as the Vauxhall Ampera and Chevrolet Volt will be exempt.
In a further announcement, it emerged motorists will no longer be able to pay the Congestion Charge in shops. The mayor’s office said that just six per cent of payments are made in such a way.