Drivers of older, more polluting diesel and petrol vehicles have to pay almost twice as much to drive in central London, after the city administration has introduced a so-called "T-charge" to improve air quality.
Called the T-charge, the 10-pound (11.2-euro) daily tax applies to diesel and petrol vehicles typically registered before 2006 which do not meet the so-called "Euro 4" European directive to regulate vehicle emissions.
The new charge will be applied during 7am to 6pm weekday hours and comes on top of the existing congestion charge of 11.50 pounds, which has been in place since 2003. This could mean some owners paying a combined 21.50 pounds a day to drive an area which covers all of central London — to the south of King's Cross station, to the east of Hyde Park, west of the Tower of London and north of Elephant and Castle.
"As mayor I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London's lethal air. The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces, with thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution, must be addressed," London mayor Sadiq Khan said in a statement.
Read more: VW says new diesel engines are clean
The measures comes after Britain's High Court ruled that UK government measures to combat air pollution were failing to comply with European Union rules on nitrogen dioxide limits. Khan said that this was "the time to stand up and join the battle to clear the toxic air we are forced to breathe."
Read more: Think diesel cars are dirty? Try ships!
According to a 2015 study by researchers at the King's College London, nearly 9,500 Londoners die prematurely every year as a result of long-term exposure to air pollution. The new measure is part of an 875-million-pound effort by the mayor's office to address air pollution in London, with the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) slated for 2019.
uhe/jd (Reuters, AFP)