30 Aug 18

Soon it’ll cost €144 to drive into London

If you have a diesel or petrol car, you’ll soon pay a fine of £130 (€144) when driving into parts of London’s city centre. 

Britain’s toughest anti-pollution measure yet will come into force from September 3 in the inner-city boroughs of Hackney and Islington. 

Old Street
Focusing on nine roads centred on the Old Street roundabout (pictured), the measure will install a ZEZ (Zero Emission Zone) by completely ban cars emitting >75g/km of CO2 between 7 am and 10 am and 4 pm and 7 pm on weekdays.

During those times, only ultra-low emission vehicles such as EVs, e-bikes and the newest hybrids and hydrogen vehicles will be allowed. 

Premature deaths
Partially funded by the government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEZ), the measure is the strongest example yet among London’s various initiatives against poor air quality, which causes nearly 10,000 premature deaths in the city. 

The best-known examples are:

  • The Congestion Charge (°February 2003): a standard fee of £11.5 (€14) charged of most vehicles entering central London between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays. 
  • The Low Emission Zone (LEZ) (°February 2008): charges for the worst-polluting diesel-powered commercial vehicles entering central London. 
  • The Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) (°October 2017): a temporary measure until the introduction of the ULEZ, adding £10 (€11.10) to the existing congestion charge for petrol and diesel vehicles. It applies to vehicles registered before 2006 who enter London between 7 am and 6 pm on weekdays. 
  • The Ultra-low Emission Zone (ULEZ) (°April 2019): will put extra charges on petrol and diesel cars entering the city. 

Additionally, the Square Mile (i.e. the City of London) is also introducing emissions-based parking fees. Various other local initiatives are likely to follow.   

Positive measures
Some fear that the avalanche of restrictions on fossil-fuel cars entering London is confusing as well as angering commuters.

Also at issue is the lack of positive measures promoting EV uptake. Hackney council has announced plans to add 180 extra EV charging points in the borough; there currently are just 22. Additionally, Siemens has announced it will deliver 1,150 charge points in London by the end of 2020.

Image: Jack Torcello, CC BY 3.0

Authored by: Frank Jacobs