The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) comes into force today which will see motorists pay a daily fee in London if their car does not meet the emissions standards in force.
It is being introduced by Mayor Sadiq Khan to help reduce the overall poor air quality in the capital and could affect millions of motorists.
Speaking on April 1, Sadiq Khan said: “From the very outset I have been crystal clear that I would do everything in my power to tackle London’s toxic air crisis.
“So far in my mayoralty, this includes cleaning up our bus and taxi fleet and establishing the largest air quality monitoring network of any major city.
“The introduction of the world’s first 24-hour seven-day-a-week Ultra Low Emission Zone next week marks a watershed moment in our fight to clean up our filthy air.
“The data I’ve published gives an even clearer picture of the urgent need to take action.”
Motorists that do not pay the charge will be fined £160 if they don’t pay the fee which will be halved to £80 if paid within 14 days.
Here’s everything you need to know about the zone and charges.
What is it?
The Ulez is a way of charging vehicles which emit the most nitrogen oxide for entering parts of London.
When is it starting?
The daily charge begins on Monday and will run from midnight to midnight every day.
Where is it happening?
The scheme will initially be within the same area as the congestion charging zone, before being expanded to within the North and South Circular roads from October 2021.
What vehicles are included?
All vehicles will be affected apart from black taxis.
How much will it cost to enter the zone with an older vehicle?
It will cost £12.50 for most vehicle types, including cars, motorcycles and vans. Heavier vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches will be liable for a £100 charge.
How can I avoid the charge?
To be exempt from the Ulez charge, petrol cars, vans and minibuses must meet the Euro 4 emissions standard and diesels must meet Euro 6.
That means the oldest car that can be driven in central London without paying will roughly be a four-year-old diesel model or a 13-year-old petrol model.
What if I don’t know my vehicle’s emissions standard?
Drivers can check whether their vehicle is liable for a charge by entering its registration on the Transport for London website.
Why is Ulez being introduced?
London mayor Sadiq Khan says the scheme will improve the capital’s air quality, which he says is responsible for thousands of premature deaths and other serious conditions.
Has there been any opposition to the scheme?
Conservatives on the London Assembly claim Mr Khan’s decision to introduce the scheme earlier than planned could catch out some motorists – particularly those from the poorest households – who have not already upgraded their vehicle to a newer model.
They also warn that expanding the zone to the whole of inner London will not effectively tackle pollution and will affect people and businesses in areas with low pollution.