London’s New Tax On Older, More Polluting Cars Starts Today

October 23, 2017, 1:09 PM UTC

London’s tax on its oldest polluting vehicles comes out in full force Monday in a move to improve air quality.

The tax comes after the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory found that nearly 95% of Londoners live in areas exceeding World Health Organization guidelines for air toxicity by 50% or more.

Starting Monday, most diesel and gas vehicles registered before 2006 — as well as some later models — will be subject to a £10 ($13) “T Charge” when entering central London between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday.

That’s on top of an existing “Congestion Charge” aimed at decreasing traffic in the city. That charge is in effect in the same zones at the same time as the T Charge, though it applies to nearly all vehicles and costs £11.50 pounds per day ($15). Effectively, owners of the most polluting cars will pay about £21.50 or $28 per day to drive in central London.

About 438 schools in London are in areas exceeding legal air quality levels, according to the London mayor’s office.

“It’s staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems,” Mayor Sadiq Khan said previously. “The T Charge is a vital step in tackling the dirtiest diesels before I introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone as early as 2019.”

London’s tax goes into place at a time when some cities have begun to levy similar taxes on high-pollution vehicles, while companies in the private sector known for their diesel and gas engines, Daimler, Volkswagen and Volvo, are committing to an all-electric portfolio.