Story: RALPH MORTON
- London Congestion Charge discount for electric cars and ultra low emission vehicles (up to 75g/km)
- Proposed change takes place July 2013
- Rise in Congestion Charge penalty charge from £120 to £130
- ‘Sunset period’ for Congestion Charge discount qualifying cars until 2015
CAR makers have been too good at making CO2 efficient ‘green’ cars – so many cars are entering London’s Congestion Charge zone with a 100% discount, congestion has…well, risen!
So the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, is proposing a new Ultra Low Emission Discount, to provide improved air quality benefits for Londoners.
And the change to the London Congestion Charged, first introduced in February 2003, is planned for next year.
The proposal from Transport for London is that an Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) would come into effect in July 2013.
In order for cars and vans to qualify for the newly proposed 100% Congestion Charge discount, vehicles would have to be electric or emit less than 75g/km CO2 emissions as well as be Euro 5 emissions standard compliant.
However, TFL says that the 19,000 cars and vans currently registered for the Greener Vehicle Discount would remain exempt from the London Congestion Charge until 2015 in what it is calling a ‘sunset period’.
The changes to the London Congestion Charge are in line with the government’s policy on company car tax.
The current company car tax bands reward zero emission electric vehicles with a zero company car tax rate (until March 2015); the lowest level of company car tax (5% for petrol cars, 8% for diesel cars) is for company cars emitting 1-75g/km.
The new ULED would replace both the current Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) and the electric vehicle discount, says TFL, in order to make sure that only ultra low emission cars receive the Congestion Charge discount.
Prices remain at £10 to enter the London Congestion Charge (or £9 for those drivers registered with Congestion Charge Auto Pay). However, the penalty charge for the Congestion Charge is likely to rise from £120 to £130.
Drivers would be able to continue to register for the Greener Vehicle Discount and Electric Vehicle Discount until 28 June 2013.
In order for plug-in electric hybrid cars to qualify for the new 100% London Congestion Charge discount, they must be able to travel 10 miles in electric only mode and have a top speed of 60mph.
The criteria is the same for plug-in electric hybrid vans, except the maximum speed is reduced to 50mph.
Nick Fairholme, TfL’s Director for Congestion Charging, told Business Car Manager: ‘We are really keen to hear what Londoners and motorists have to say about the proposed changes to the Congestion Charging scheme.
“We do listen to the views of our customers and have made significant changes to the scheme in recent years, including the removal of the Western Extension and the introduction of Congestion Charging (CC) Auto Pay.
“The proposed changes will make the London Congestion Charge scheme greener and more efficient.”