London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced his intention to introduce some major changes to the London Congestion Charge. The goal of the changes seems sensible – to ensure that the lowest-polluting cars gain exemption from the charge, regardless of what technology they use to reduce emissions.
The proposals are that all cars – regardless of fuel or engine technology – that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 and meet Euro V emissions standards will gain 100% exemption from the London Congestion Charge. On the other hand, hybrids that emit more than 100g/km will lose their current exemption.
The changes mean that a whole range of ‘regular’ cars such as the Ford Focus Econetic and Skoda Fabia Greenline will gain exemption – where before they would not have done due to their diesel engines.
Transport for London say that the plans are motivated by the fact that “The greener technology in conventional vehicles has now overtaken many of those that use alternative fuels.” Some more polluting cars gain exemption from the charge purely because of their technology – not because they are the lowest-emitting cars available.
These proposals seems sensible and it’s good to see that common sense seems to have triumphed for once – let’s hope that it continues that way where road charging is concerned. Other changes included in the proposal are that the westward extensions to the zone will be scrapped – no doubt welcome news for many more motorists. Less welcome news is that the charge itself will be increasing from £8 to £10, or £12 if you pay the day after.
These plans are under consultation until 2nd August 2010 – visit the Transport for London website for full details and to contribute your views.