Completing a process he initiated in 2006 (earlier post), Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has confirmed that the city will levy a substantially larger daily charge for high greenhouse gas-emitting vehicles entering the city’s Congestion Zone: £25 (US$49). At the same time, the city will provide a 100% low CO2 discount for cars that produce less than 120g/km CO2 and meet the Euro 4 standard for air pollution emissions, or that produce no more than 120g/km of CO2 and appear on the PowerShift register.
To be implemented starting 27 October 2008, the changes are intended to encourage drivers within the charging zone to travel in vehicles that produce lower levels of carbon dioxide and to discourage the use of vehicles with high CO2 emissions.
Nobody needs to damage the environment by driving a gas guzzling Chelsea Tractor in central London. The CO2 emissions from the most high powered 4x4s and sports cars can be up to four times as great of those of the least polluting cars. The CO2 charge will encourage people to switch to cleaner vehicles or public transport and ensure that those who choose to carry on driving the most polluting vehicles help pay for the environmental damage they cause. This is the “polluter pays” principle. At the same time, the 100 per cent discount we are introducing for the lowest CO2 emitting vehicles will give drivers in London an incentive to use the least polluting cars available.
I believe that this ground breaking initiative will have an impact throughout the world with other cities following suit as they step up their efforts to halt the slide towards catastrophic climate change. I think this scheme will also start a cultural revolution whereby drivers in every city in Britain start to think about the impact on the environment of their choice of car and how they plan their journeys. We will be closely monitoring this scheme to ensure that goal of reducing traffic congestion in central London remains a central priority.—The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone
The majority of cars (around 80%) within the Congestion Charging zone will not be affected by the changes and will continue to pay the £8 standard charge or be eligible to apply for another discount or exemption. The boundary of the Congestion Charging zone, and charging hours, 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday-Friday excluding bank holidays, remain the same.
Vehicles that will be assessed the increased £25 daily charge under the modified plan include:
Cars first registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) on or after 1 March 2001 that produce above 225g/km of CO2.
Cars first registered with the DVLA before 1 March 2001 with engines greater than 3,000cc displacement.
Pickups with two rows of seats (extended-cab dual-purpose pickups) with CO2 emissions of greater than 225g/km or with engines greater than 3,000cc in size.
The high-emitting vehicles are essentially those in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) band G, while the vehicles qualifying for the 100% discount are in bands A and B. Bands C, D, E and F will continue to pay the original £8 fee.
Other changes implemented by the Mayor of London’s Variation and Transitional Provisions Order 2007 include:
The removal of the 90% Residents’ Discount from the Congestion Charge for residents who continue to drive cars liable for the CO2 charge.
The closure of the 100% Alternative Fuel Discount (AFD) to new registrations, and the phasing out of the AFD by January 2010.
A change to the NHS reimbursement scheme. The city will only reimburse patients travelling in those cars that are liable for the higher charge a maximum of £8, not the full £25.
The introduction of the Euro V incentive—a time-limited reduced Congestion Charge of £6 for trucks and heavier vans that meet the Euro V standard for air pollution emissions.
Transport for London’s analysis concludes that by 2010, CO2 emissions will be reduced by an additional 500 to 7,500 tonnes per year under the new charging scheme.
...whilst the direct measurable impact of the emissions related congestion charging proposals could be small, the scheme could achieve wider long term impacts, for example: changing car purchasing behaviour in favour of lower CO2 vehicles; raising awareness of the impact of individual car choice on the environment and incentivising manufacturers to produce lower carbon vehicles. These proposals must also be seen in the context of other initiatives at international and local levels aimed at changing behaviour. Accordingly, these proposals could result in larger long-term net improvements in the energy efficiency of the UK vehicle fleet, and, larger net reductions in CO2 emissions as a result of behavioral changes.—Transport for London
(A hat-tip to Jamie!)