New £10 charge for diesel drivers

  • New £10 penalty could be introduced in 2020
  • The charge will operate in the same area as the congestion zone
  • Other major cities could also introduce similar schemes

London Mayor, Boris Johnson has drawn up new plans which could see diesel cars hit by a £10 charge when driving in central London.

These new plans, which could come into effect as early as 2020, aim to help combat the rising amount of air pollution which figures suggest contributed to around 28,000 deaths across the UK in 2010.

The £10 charge would be introduced alongside the congestion charge which rose earlier in the year to £11.50 and would be applicable to the same area of central London.

Closely linked to the proposal is the new Euro6 emissions legislation, which will be introduced next year to new cars in Europe. It aims to help reduce harmful gases by reducing the average CO2 emissions to 130g/km across a car company's entire range. There will also be tighter restrictions on a wide range of pollutants including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, NOx and particulates.

Only diesel vehicles meeting the Euro6 emissions standard will be exempt from this new £10 charge if it goes ahead, while petrol cars registered before 2006 will also have to pay.

Other major cities could also introduce similar scheme as part of bid to reduce air pollution.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) has welcomed the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) proposals. Chief Executive Gerry Keaney said: “London has to clean up its act, and the Mayor’s proposals for an Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2020 will make a massive contribution.”

“Diesel vehicles are popular because they have provided millions of consumers and businesses with fuel-efficient motoring. Unfortunately, diesel particulate filters are not as effective in congested, slow-moving urban traffic, but the new Euro6 diesel engine standard will address this issue.”

“The Mayor’s proposed 2020 implementation date makes sense as it gives businesses and individuals time to prepare, and doesn’t punish them for vehicle choices they have recently made,” he added.

The UK is already facing fines and legal proceedings from the European Commission for failing to meet pollution targets. The Mayor will give more details about his plans to curb emissions shortly in a speech to mark 60 years since the first London Clean Air Act was passed.