Non-plug-ins in London to pay Congestion Charge from April

by Lawrence Allan, Autocar UK 21 Dec 2018

Vehicles without plug-in capability will no longer be exempt from London's Congestion Charge under new plans, set to come into force in April.

The first phase of a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD) scheme, replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount, will see only 'zero emission-capable' vehicles - such as plug-in hybrids or EVs - to be exempt from the £11.50-a-day charge.

Private hire vehicles (PHVs), such as those operated by Uber and Addison Lee, will also have to start paying after a public consulation supported a change in the rules. The changes will coincide with the introduction of the 24-hour Ultra Low Emission Zone in London, and are expected to see around 8000 fewer PHVs on the city's streets each day. 

Restrictions will tighten further by 2021, when only pure-EVs will be eligible for discount, while by 2025 the C-Charge discount will expire altogether. The move is aimed at improving air quality, which has been a hotly debated topic recently.

The proposals, brought in by Transport for London under Mayor Sadiq Khan, also target operators of diesel taxis, which a recent study has shown are responsible for 20 percent of harmful NOx emissions in the city. 

New diesel cabs are banned from being licensed from the capital, and have been since the start of 2018, but a 15-year age limit on current cabs will be introduced next year. A number of grants, including LPG conversion grants for Euro 5 taxis and an 'enhanced delicensing fund', allow for up to £10,000 (Rs 886,047) of the cost of a new cab for drivers who trade in their older vehicles. 

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