19 Jun 20

Fleets face higher London Congestion Charge as part of green Covid recovery

Businesses will have to budget for higher costs for their company cars and vans to enter London, after the UK capital announced plans to increase its Congestion Charge. The rise is part of a policy to create a green recovery from coronavirus where private vehicles do not cannibalise public transport.

From 22 June the Congestion Charge will temporarily increase to £15 per day for all cars and vans, and operate from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week. Previously the daily charge was £11.50 and only applied from 7am to 6pm, Monday to Friday.

Encourage cycling and walking

The aim is to reduce traffic in central London and enable more journeys to be made safely by foot or by bike. Cutting congestion will also allow buses to function more efficiently.

Public fears about returning to public transport have seen traffic levels in the UK capital return to pre-coronavirus levels, despite many employees still working from home and many retail and entertainment businesses remaining closed.

Cars cannot replace public transport

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “I am determined to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system. Due to social distancing requirements, public transport can only carry a fraction of the number of passengers compared to pre-pandemic levels - even when we are back to running completely full services. While capacity on the network needs to be preserved for those people who need it most, we can't allow journeys that were previously taken on public transport to be replaced with car trips.”

EVs and hybrids

In the short term, fleets can avoid the congestion charge by running vehicles that meet Euro 6 standards (petrol and diesel), that emit no more than 75g/km of CO2 and have a minimum 20 mile zero emission capable range. However, from October 2021 only battery electric vehicles will avoid the charge, and from December 2025 all vehicles will incur the charge.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning