Driving in London isn’t cheap. With the price of parking, the Congestion Charge, and then all the traffic holding you up and using more fuel than you’d hoped, it all comes together to make London one of the most expensive cities to drive in.
The bad news is, it’s about to get even costly with the introduction of the Toxicity Charge, or T-Charge as it is been affectionately called.
What is it?
The T-Charge is a new levy designed to improve air quality in the capital. It will penalise drivers of old cars that fail to meet certain emissions standard.
Why do we need it?
Short answer: Because the air in London sucks.
Longer answer: Because air in every area of London now exceeds the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) limits for PM2.5 – one of the most dangerous toxic particles.
Effectively, every person in the capital is now breathing in air that exceeds global guidelines for a particle that can increase the likelihood of developing respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Will my car be affected?
Possibly. All cars and vans driving in central London will need to meet minimum exhaust emission standards.
What are the minimum requirements?
All petrol and diesel vehicles must be Euro 4/IV. This switches to Euro 3 for motorised tricycles and quadricycles.
What if my car doesn’t qualify?
Then you’ll have to pay a Emissions Surcharge (also known as the T-Charge) of £10 a day.
Does it replace the C-Charge?
No. The T-Charge will be in addition to the Congestion Charge.
When does it come into effect?
From Monday October 23rd. It will operate between Monday and Friday from 7am until 6pm. This excludes Bank Holidays and the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day inclusive.
I don’t want to pay the T-Charge – how can I get around it?
You could drive a newer car, not necessarily a showroom-fresh, just something with a Euro 4 engine. Euro 4 took effect from 2006 so you’ll be fine with anything wearing a 06 or 56-reg plate.
I live in London – do I have to pay?
Yes, but not as much.
Residents with vehicles that do not meet the emissions standards and are registered for the Congestion Charge Residents’ Discount will automatically receive a 90 per cent discount on the T-Charge.
Are there any other exemptions?
Yes. Vehicles with a historic tax class (40 years and older) and commercial vehicles manufactured before 1973 don’t have to pay.
Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds that are exempt from the Congestion Charge are exempt from the T-Charge too.
Emergency, NHS and roadside recovery vehicles don’t have to worry about the charge either.
What if I don’t pay the T-Charge?
Bit of a rebel, are ya?
Well, if you do not pay the daily charge, a £65 Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) will be issued to the registered keeper or operator. This is doubled to £130 if paid it isn’t paid within 14 days.
Ignore that and it could become a matter for the courts.
That just about covers it. What do you think about the new T-Charge? A necessary evil or another assault on motorists’ pockets?