RAC Foundation - Introducing the 'T-Charge'

Introducing the ‘T-Charge’

With question marks now hanging over the future of Uber in the capital, following Transport for London’s decision not to renew its licence (pending appeal), anyone tempted to drive their own car into the centre of the city needs to be aware of the introduction of a new charge, which the Mayor is introducing over and above the congestion charge – the Toxicity Charge or simply, ‘T-Charge’.

Designed as an attempt to help meet London’s air quality challenge, the new £10 fee will affect older vehicles from 23 October this year and will apply 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. It will be payable for any petrol or diesel car that is pre- ‘Euro 4’ standard – in most cases this means cars registered before 2006. Transport for London has an on-line vehicle checker for anyone uncertain as to whether or not their vehicle will be caught.

The restrictions extend to the majority of other vehicles, including vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and motorhomes. However, Club members will be relieved to see that there are some exemptions, including for historic tax class vehicles (those more than 40 years old). So, no risk to the Emancipation Run! The fee will be payable in the same way as the congestion charge, and both can be paid in a single transaction.

The T-Charge will remain in force until the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into operation. This is currently scheduled for September 2020, though the Mayor is considering responses to his proposals for bringing implementation forward to 2019. When it does start, the ULEZ charge will be payable 24-hours a day, seven days a week and have stricter standards than the T-Charge (meaning any pre-Euro 6 diesels will be liable for the charge, though again there will be exemptions).

These measures are part of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s wider strategy for transport in London, which has been published in draft for public consultation until midnight on Monday 2 October.

The Mayor has made it clear that tackling air pollution is a top priority for his administration. His Transport Strategy is also concerned with promoting safer roads, healthy streets, and centres on a big push to persuade London’s growing population to make more of their trips by walking, cycling or on public transport – by 2041 he envisages the number of car journeys made each day will fall by a third, despite a projected 1.8 million increase in population and 1.2 million more jobs.

That sounds like a tough call to us, particularly since the draft strategy is somewhat coy about the prospects for further developing London’s congestion charge. We’ll be publishing the Foundation’s response shortly.

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