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London tightens Congestion Charge exemptions

New car buyers in London will have a new magic figure that will be in the forefront of their minds from today-75g/km CO2- as the capital brings in new exemption rules to the city’s Congestion Charge.

Diesel cars like the Citroen DS3, will no longer qualify for exemption to the Congestion Charge

From today, new cars will no longer be able to register for the Greener Vehicle Discount which formally gave cars with emissions under 100g/km CO2 the right to pass through the city without paying the London Congestion Charge.

While cars already registered for the GVD will have until have until June 24, 2016, before they have to pay the charge, new car buyers will only be able to register their cars under the new Ultra Low Emission  Discount (ULED), if they meet Euro 5 emission regulations and meet the 75g/km CO2 figure.

Currently no combustion-only cars actually meet this criteria, so only buyers of plug-in hybrids or fully electric cars will be able to register for exemption.

From today, anyone with an eligible car, currently registered for the Electric Vehicle Discount, will be automatically transferred to the new ULED scheme.

Dirty diesel

The changes to the Congestion Charge were first proposed last year and announced as part of Mayor’s plans to reduce diesel car emissions in the city, whose rising popularity was being blamed for helping the capital fall foul of EU laws governing NOx emissions.  With plenty of diesel car ducking below the 100g/km CO2 and qualifying for charge exemption, the Mayor’s office wanted to tighten the rules to tackle the problem.

Transport for London (TfL) also announced two further changes to the Congestion Charge; firstly, the removal of the option to pay the charge in shops, which is now used for only six per cent of payments, and an increase in the level of penalty charge from £120 to £130.

Currently paying the Congestion Charge costs motorists from £9 a day.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor of London's advisor on the Environment, said: “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. 

“We want to encourage the continued development of these technologies, while also protecting the benefits to traffic flow in the centre of London that the charge provides.”

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Faye Sunderland

Filed under: Green credentials

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