A consultation has been launched in London to get the views of the general public and businesses regarding changes to the Congestion Charge in order to reduce traffic and improve air quality.
Under proposals to clean up the capital’s toxic air, the exemptions from the Congestion Charge enjoyed by private hire vehicles (PHVs) would be removed and replaced by the introduction of a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount, replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount.
The idea behind the proposals is that they will ensure the emission standard for the vehicles receiving the full discount are tighter than the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
This will result in greater demand for the greener vehicles.
London is committed to reducing transport pollution; in the government’s recent Clean Air Strategy, it was revealed that air pollution is the fourth biggest risk to public health – behind only cancer, heart disease and obesity.
As such, there has been a concerted campaign which will see an expanded ULEZ, while rapid charge points will be increased across London and the Mayor of London has committed to increasing the zero emission bus fleet.
In the 15 years the Congestion Charge has been in force, the number of vehicles entering the zone each day has decreased by 30%. However, PHVs entering during that time have rocketed,
TfL analysis reveals therefore that removing the PHV exemption on the Congestion Charge will reduce the number that enter central London by almost a half, reducing congestion and emissions.
Views from the public are sought on replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount with a Cleaner Vehicle Discount from April 2019; currently, the discount applies to those vehicles that meet the Euro 5 standard for air quality, emitting 75g/km or less of CO2.
Changes in this first phase would mean only those vehicles with zero emission capabilities won’t have to pay the Congestion Charge.
This will hopefully increase the reliance on environmentally friendly solutions such as hydrogen fuel cells too.