It may be one of the busiest cities in the world but London certainly is intent on being one of the most pollution-free capitals. Its latest bid to reduce the number of carbon emissions produced in London and improve the quality of the air Londoners and its visitors are forced to breathe in, involves putting the Congestion Charge on all diesel cars entering the capital.
Prior to July 2013, low-emission diesel cars, such as the VW Polo 1.2 TDI, are exempt from the Congestion Charge. The controversial charge has been operating in Central London since 2003 and involves most vehicles operating within the zone between 7.00am and 18.00, Monday to Friday, being charged a standard fee of £10 a day.
Transport for London has announced that from July 1, 2013 all vehicles, including low-emission diesels and petrol-electric hybrids, are liable for the standard Congestion Charge.
Talking about how the changes are part of the bigger picture to improve the quality of air in London, Matthew Pencharz, Boris Johnson’s environmental official said in a press statement:
“These changes are in line with the Mayor’s aim to improve air quality in London by reducing emissions from private vehicles and promoting the further development of low emission vehicles.”
When London’s new emissions limits come into effect, which will limit vehicles to producing 75g or less CO2 per kilometre perimeter, it is believed that only 100% electric vehicles will remain void of the Congestion Charge.
Since the Congestion Charge was inaugurated in London it has generated over £1 billion in revenue and according to officials figures from Transport for London, traffic levels in London have decreased by 10.2% during the last ten years.
When the scheme was launched it was the biggest congestion charge programme ever to be introduced in a city and the smooth start to the scheme came as a surprise to the then London mayor, Ken Livingstone. A decade later, Ken Livingstone admits that the London Congestion Charge was the only thing in his entire political career that “turned out better than I expected.”