The London Mayor has proposed to make the Congestion Charge greener with a new Ultra Low Emission Discount, delivering improved air quality benefits.
Transport for London (TfL) is in the process of asking Londoners for their views on a number of proposed changes to the Congestion Charging scheme. The proposed changes include the introduction of a new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), an increase in the penalty charge and the removal of the under-used retail (shop) payment channel.
The introduction of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) would take place in July 2013 and provide a single 100 per cent discount from the Congestion Charge for electric and ultra low emission cars and vans. To qualify for the discount vehicles will have to either be pure electric or be cars and vans that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emission standard for air quality.
The ULED would replace the current Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) and the electric vehicle discount, and would ensure that only ultra low emission vehicles would be provided with a 100 per cent discount to the Congestion Charge.
While the ULED is technology neutral, no currently available diesel car would meet the criteria for the discount and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. Therefore, the proposed ULED will help tackle the increasing dieselisation of London's car fleet. Over the past decade diesel car sales have increased from around 10 per cent to 50 per cent, partly as a result of low carbon vehicle incentives. A Euro 4 diesel car emits about 22 times as much particulate matter as the equivalent petrol car.
The introduction of the ULED would complement the comprehensive set of measures the Mayor has introduced to tackle air pollution. Over the past four years the Mayor has: tightened the standard of the Low Emission Zone, further reducing the emissions of 150,000 vehicles; introduced the first age limits to retire the oldest and most polluting taxis; and delivered a package of innovative local measures through his Clean Air Fund. In addition the Mayor has built Europe's largest fleet of hybrid buses and developed the new bus for London, the cleanest and greenest of its type. There are currently eight prototype new buses in service with funding agreed for a fleet of 600. They emit under half the CO2 and NOx of a traditional diesel vehicle.