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Mayor of London Announces Plans for Emissions-Based Congestion Charging

In 2007, London is almost doubling its congestion-charge area with the orange-shaded extension to the left. The original C-charge area is to the right. Click to enlarge.

The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today announced that he will take forward the policy of reducing London’s CO2 emissions by introducing emissions-based charging to the existing congestion charge scheme.

The Mayor had asked Transport for London (TfL) earlier this year to produce such proposals designed to discourage the use of cars producing high levels of carbon emissions, and to encourage drivers to switch to cars with low levels of CO2 emissions. (Earlier post.)

Under the emissions-based Congestion Charging proposals, the following charges would apply:

Emissions-based Congestion Charging
TierVehicle BandCO2Charge
1 A and B
(Euro-4 compliant)
< 120 g/km £0 (100% discount)
2 C, D, E, F 120-225 g/km £8 (US$15) (as now)
3 G > 225 g/km £25 (US$47)

The proposal calls for the introduction of the 100% discount for the least polluting vehicles in 2008. The surcharge for band G vehicles that emit the most CO2 is expected to be possible from 2009/10, although the Mayor has asked Transport for London to examine the possibility of an earlier start date.

The 90 per cent resident’s discount currently enjoyed by those living within the congestion charging zone, will be withdrawn for vehicles in band G.

Londoners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to tackle climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. Most vehicles that will be charged £25, in Vehicle Excise Duty Band G, are high priced models. Those who buy them can afford to choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream car market but have chosen to buy one of the most polluting vehicles. By making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of new car on the environment and the planet.

We are already cleaning up London’s fleet of public vehicles through measures like the introduction of Hybrid buses. These new proposals will tackle pollution from private vehicles, and ensure that London is leading the way in the fight against catastrophic climate change.

—Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone

(Hat-tips to Chris and Jamie!)



This smells of SUV bashing - why don't they make it linear with car CO2 or weight or road area or some physical measure. The bands are very crude - but if you have 5 or 9 bands, it gets very complex, else it has big jumps.

While noone needs a SUV in central london if you have 4 kids or more, you could use an MPV and should not be penalised for the mayor's dislike of personal transport.


This smells of SUV bashing - why don't they make it linear with car CO2 or weight or road area or some physical measure.

The term "bashing" is inflammatory and is meant to discredit the person making the argument not the argument itself.

From what I see, the more CO2 a vehicle puts out, the greater the charge. How is that "SUV bashing"? There's SUVs like the Ford Escape which get better mileage (ie, put out less CO2 per unit of distance) than many small cars.

should not be penalised for the mayor's dislike of personal transport.

If you don't like your mayor, vote him out.


Hot damn. I wish I lived in London. It seems London is on the path to becoming the first major, world city that will have CLEAN AIR.

Imagine living in a place with no worry of inhaling cancer causing poisons?

No smog. No dangerous ozone level days.

With regard to the SUV lover above... There is nothing stopping an SUV from being an electric vehicle.

I hope that this mayor also will provide convenient charging stations all around. Between $4 / gallon tax on fuel & the congestion charge.. there ought to be plenty of money for plenty of plugs all around.

Only thing stopping London from making a switch to all electric shortly is the limited resale market for cars with the steering wheel on the wrong side. :)


I agree with your sentiments Matt but maybe it's you that has the steering wheel on the wrong side.MahonJ, I don't think the mayor dislikes personal transport, London has been actively encouraging cycling as the best form of personal transport. I ride to work here in Melbourne, mostly along on-road cycle lanes, and love riding past the lines of stationary cars.

kent beuchert

The next logical step would have to be to charge
individuals on thebasis of their CO2 emissions from their
lungs. Fatsos will get charged twice what skinny folk are
charged. It will have the side benefit of encouraging healthier skinny (and smaller) people. Dwarfs will then start complaining about how "those giants" are polluting my atmosphere. Especially joggers. Running and fast walking will be banned in the downtown area. People are encouraged to sleep 12 hours a day.


Cycling... even better! I'm in San Francisco, supposedly a liberal progressive place. & sure, we have a lot of bikers. But we also have piles of big ugly SUVs and loads of traffic. Cars sitting in gridlock. This, in a city that measures just 7 miles by 6 miles.

We do have a few hills... but there are plenty of flat routes.

Usually I'm there before my friends in their cars.


Clearly Kent has no comprehension of carbon cycles.

fyi CO2

Excellent measure!
Ideally it's 7 tiers, 1 per band for more equality. Why should someone polluting 220g/km pay the same as someone polluting 40% less?

If someone decides to have 4 kids, they use more resources/pollute more - this external should be a real cost calculated in any household.


"120 g/km... 225 g/km"

What are the equivalent l/100km for unleaded and diesel?


Clearly Kent has no comprehension of carbon cycles.



Depends on the car... the smart diesel is 90g/km.

Bill Young

Just as a rough conversion for gasoline, 225gms CO2/km is equal to about 23 miles/(US)gallon, if I did the arithmetic right.


What are the equivalent l/100km for unleaded and diesel?

For gasoline, 120 g/km is equivalent to 5.5 l/100km (42.4 mpg). For diesel, it's 4.8 l/100km (48.8 mpg).

For diesel, 120 g/km is equivalent to 10.4 l/100km (22.6 mpg). For diesel, it's 9.0 l/100km (26.0 mpg).

This assumes the net value for heat content of the fuels (30,485 BTU/liter for gasoline and 33,999 BTU/liter for diesel).


Sorry - screwed that up.

The second paragraph should read "For gasoline, 225 g/km..."

Lance Funston

It is quite a jump up to tier G. I agree with more gradations. I also agree that if 4 kids is your excuse, maybe you shouldn't be getting a big break on your carbon tax. I can't think of anything more irresponsible in this day and age than having more that 3 kids (from your own loins).


Theres a lot of car available to the the UK consumer that produce 120 g/km of less of CO2

cut and past

Too bad we don't get most of these here in the US.


There are also all sorts of options for band G 4x4 and MPV drivers. There are at least 25 choices each of MPVs and 4x4s in band F and they have at least 2 years to make the change.

Ken has stuck his neck out on this. It's a very brave decision and I only hope it gets approved.


Well at least we are starting to debate how we might deal with climate change.
It is however a global problem. It does not matter much if someone drives a prius if the chinese are building a new coal fired power station every week.
If it (GW) is real and lets assume it is; we have a huge problem requiring all the developed and developing nations to cooperate.
Unlike CFCs there is no obvious technical solution and it is not limited to a few devices - refrigeration systems and PCB manufacturing - it effects nearly everything we do.

The problem with London is road congenstion not CO2 levels. The most likely response to this is that even more people will buy diesels which won't improve the air quality but you make the rules and take the consequences.
What I was trying to say is that the tax should mirror the effect you are trying to achieve which is to make traffic flow more freely by reducing volumes. Hence make it a function of road space used by a vehicle. Mixing this up with CO2 levels seems like wolly thinking. Why should CO2 matter inside the congenstion are and not outside it ?
If you want to reduce CO2 you need a carbon tax for ALL vehicles. I would recommend a tax like the VRT tax we have here in Ireland. This is a purchase tax pait at the time of purchase. The Irish one is based on engine capacity (silly) and goes from 22 - 30%.
If they had one based on C02 levels (like Co2/km / 8) you would get a similar effect but targeted better.
Example: car generates 200 gms/km. Tax rate is 200/8 = 25% of purchaes price of car.

The advantage is that the tax is paid at the time of decision - once a car is bought the amount of CO2 it generates over its lifetime is more or less set. So the trick is to get people to buy low CO2 cars - and the way to do this is to make them pay the tax in advance.
If you tax fuel ( as most of europe does [ and well done ] ) you lack the "sticker shock" of the up front tax.
But it takes political willpower to bring in taxes like these. In Ireland we have no car manufacturers to lobby against such taxes - the US and China are different stories.

All I am saying is - congention is a local problem - CO2 levels in the atmosphere are a global problem - let's tackle each separately.

[ The solutions for congestion are simple and implementable: the solutions for GW are not simple and fiendishly difficult to implement. ]


No congestion charge for clean (Tier 4!) and fuel efficient vehicles – way to go, mayor. No one will be able to claim that only rich could “enjoy” driving in London – just buy small and fuel efficient vehicle.


As I remember right, humankind emits about 70 B ton of carbon dioxide yearly. Just for breezing, we emit about 6 B ton of CO2 yearly. There is an article with some calculations on efficiency of local (California) CO2 emission reduction:


Excellent!! Now if they can just get some additional capacity added to their subways. This is a good step in the right direction. Eventually, however, they just need to ban autos from the central core,perhaps with some exceptions for residents. I think they need to expand their mass transit infrastructure,however, before they do this.

Why not just ban the really big boys? My guess is that London could use the revenue. What is this revenue being used for, anyway?

We need to do this in the U.S. starting with New York.


I reckon a variable fuel tax would be far more effective than a purchase tax. If every time you filled up a G band vehicle's tank you were paying twice as much as a B band driver, you'd think long and hard before buying that G band car. It'd be difficult to implement but pretty effective!


t, by law, all revenue from the congestion charge has to go on improving London's transport facilities. Expanding the tube network is tricky and expensive. It's just too old and was never designed for the number of people it carries now.

bruno cipolla

How about telecommuting? In the average big city 50% of commuters work on information.
They can work from home.

How about car pooling?
3-4 people in every car otherways...
it has already been done before...

It's the big city concept that's obsolete.



It's the big city concept that's obsolete.

Clearly, since the world keeps urbanizing, as it has for several hundred years now.


Bruno cipolla,
That is the promise of fiber optics communications. Many service economy workers could operate out of their homes, 2-3 days a 5 day work week, if there was high quality, secure, high speed connectivity w/the office. It is not enough for you to just download the day's work, complete the tasks, and send it back. PLaces of work are often locations that concentrate people, to interact and work, together. With high quality video and audio (analog tv quality if not HD), there would be a way to for coworkers to interact as if in the next office or cubicle, not te other side of town.
_Car pooling could be dome with toll lanes that double as HOV/MOV lanes. Automated parking garages w/located at/nearby mass transit stops would help diversify options, and solve one of the problems of commuter train/bus, and car pooling-shortage of secure no hastle parking spot, w/the possibility spot reservations.

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