- Soaring sales of Congestion Charge exempt eco-cars making air quality worse
- Diesels emit 22 times more soot particles than petrol cars
So-called eco-friendly cars are facing a crackdown in London after a scheme to encourage motorists to switch to ‘greener’ alternatives has started to make air more toxic.
Transport for London is to remove the Congestion Charge exemption for diesels and some Hybrids because soaring sales has increased pollution and traffic.
Diesels now account for one in two sales, but emit 22 times more soot particulates than petrol cars.
End of the road: Diesel and Hybrid cars
are set to lose their London Congestion Charge
exemption because booming sales has led to increased polution
The U-Turn has provoked an outcry from motoring organisations, who accused authorities of moving the ‘green goalposts’.
And the move is also expected to cause anger among motorists who bought their cars to take advantage of the exemption.
Edmund King, AA president, told the Evening Standard: ‘We do have real concerns about “green goalposts” being moved after drivers and businesses have invested in low-emission hybrid and diesel vehicles. We need to encourage the take-up of a range of greener vehicles.’
Out of favour: Toyota Prius
is one of more than 50 ##Q##greener##Q## cars
which are set to lose their Congestion Charge
ECO CARS NOW FACING THE CONGESTION CHARGE
- Audi A3 1.6TDI
- Citroën C3 1.6HDi
- Citroën DS3 1.6HDi
- Fiat 500/500C
- Fiat Punto Evo 1.3 16V Multijet
- Ford Fiesta ECOnetic 1.6TDCI Duratorq
- Ford Focus ECOnetic 1.6 TDCI Duratorq (below)
- Hyundai i10 1.0SOHC
- Mini One D
- Mini Cooper D
- SEAT Leon 1.6TDI
- SEAT Ibiza ST 1.2TDI
- Skoda Fabia hatchback and estate 1.2TDI
- Smart Fortwo CDI Coupé and Cabrio
- Smart ForTwo Coupé and Cabrio
- Toyota Auris T4 and T Spirit
- Toyota Prius T3, T4 and T Spirit
- Toyota IQ 1.0 VVT-i
- Vauxhall Corsa 1.3TDI
- Volvo S40 DRIVe
- Volvo V50 DRIVe
- Volvo C30 DRIVe
- Volkswagen Polo 1.2TDI
- Volkswagen Golf 1.6TDI
More than 50 ‘green’ models, which includes the petrol/electric Toyota Prius — a favourite among environmentally conscious drivers – will no longer be exempt from the £10 charge.
The move will come into force in July if approved by Boris Johnson.
It is understood the changes to the pricing will generate up to an extra £2 million a year.
The additional revenue will go some way to plugging the £60 million lost since the abandoning the Congestion Charge’s western extension.
About 70,000 motorists a day enter the congestion zone, with 2,500 qualifying for Transport for London’s Greener Vehicle Discount because they emit less than 100g/km of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.
TfL wants to scrap this limit and replace it with a much tougher 75g/km maximum in a new scheme — which effectively rules out all hybrid and diesel vehicles now on the road.
David Bizley, the RAC’s technical director, said that only pure electric cars are likely to meet those new rigorous pollution restrictions.
Applications for the Greener Vehicle Discount would cease to be accepted from July. But drivers already registered would continue to qualify for the exemption until June 2015.
TfL, which made a £136.8 million net profit from the congestion charge in 2011/12, believes the existing system ‘creates an incentive’ for owners of hybrid and diesel cars to enter the zone.
It fears the number could more than double to 6,000 ‘free’ cars a day by the end of this year.
The new rules would sit alongside a £10 increase in penalty fines — taking them to £130 — and the closure of C-charge payment points in shops and petrol stations.
These changes would generate a further £2.5 million a year.