London’s new T-charge will cost taxpayers £7m and will not make a profit, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has revealed.
He told Sky News the charge for high polluting vehicles entering central London, which comes into force today, would cost taxpayers to implement but insisted it was a “price worth paying”.
The £10 charge adds to the £11.50 congestion charge already in place and covers the same area and operating times as the existing congestion charge zone.
Mr Khan said: “We don’t make a profit from the T-charge – it’s costing us. So the T-charge will cost us money but I think that’s a price worth paying to improve the quality of our air… the T-charge will cost us, roughly speaking, £7m a year.”
The Mayor said the cost of poor quality air in London is £3.7bn each year, with poorer Londoners having to “suffer the worst consequences of poor quality air”.
He said he aimed to “discourage” people from driving high polluting vehicles instead of banning them completely.
The new charge mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006 which do not meet the so-called “Euro 4” European directive to regulate vehicle emissions.
Mr Khan has launched the T-charge to tackle London’s air pollution and prepare the city for the introduction of the ultra-low emission zone, which he plans to introduce in April 2019.
He said the ultra-low emissions zone would “bring in revenues and that revenue will be ring-fenced to improve the quality of air”.
Friends of the Earth campaigner Jenny Bates says Mr Khan is “right to try to dissuade drivers bringing the oldest, dirtiest vehicles into central London” but warns it is “only one small step towards clean air”.
She said: “We urgently need a programme of meaningful financial assistance to help drivers of the dirtiest vehicles switch to something cleaner, and bold policies to cut traffic over all.”
Some people believe the new scheme will have huge knock-on effects and will penalise the poor.
Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association, told Sky News: “It will effectively outlaw and certainly tax all older vehicles and make business more expensive – it could even put some hauliers out of business.”
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