Air pollution is a major problem in our cities, especially in the capital, London. There are different attempts to combat the issue, including the introduction of Low Emission Zones and new taxation of financial penalties for driving in our major cities. The Emissions Charge or T-Charge (Toxin Tax) is one such example, as are the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty that came into effect in April this year.
What is the T-Charge (Toxin Tax)?
The T-Charge currently only relates to Central London and comes into effect in October 2017. Its introduction is being used to reduce the emissions produced by EU3 cars and any car manufactured before 2006. It is meant to encourage the owners of those vehicles to either upgrade to a newer and cleaner car or to not drive them through Low Emission Zones (LEZ) in Central London.
The T-Charge is up to £20 per day for as long as a driver chooses to drive EU3 cars and older through the Low Emission Zones. Not all cars are affected and not all diesel cars are affected. Only those older cars that produce certain CO2 emissions.
Other cities have LEZs including the likes of Brighton, Norwich, Nottingham and Oxford. If the T-Charge is deemed successful in London, there is a chance it will be rolled out in other cities like the ones with LEZ as well as Birmingham, Leeds, and more.
Ultra Low Emission Zones
Think of the T-Charge in London as a stop gap for what’s coming in September 2020. The Ultra Low Emission Zones will work in a similar way to the T-Charge. Any vehicle that fails to meet the exhaust emission standards in those zones will face a daily charge. It will affect any car manufactured with an EU6 engine before September 2015. Again, these ULEZ will start in Central London, where air pollution is worst. However, if these schemes are seen as a success, they will be likely to be rolled out nationally.
In order to avoid causing congestion and hassle for drivers, there will be no barriers or toll booths. There will, however, be cameras reading vehicle number plates. For those drivers who choose not to pay the daily charge, they will face a Penalty Charge Notice, which will be £130 for cars, vans and motorcycles.
What is the point?
The aim is to reduce air pollution in London and other cities. Areas in London were hitting their annual emissions allowance within the first five days of the year. That was deemed untenable and therefore actions needed to be taken.
However, there is also an attempt to move drivers from older, less efficient cars to cleaner, more efficient vehicles. This is why the T-Charge currently will only affect cars older than 2006. The ULEZ will affect cars manufactured before September 2015.
The changes in Vehicle Excise Duty or vehicle tax are designed to do the same thing. These changes came into effect in April this year and affect any car registered from then. From now on any car that is manufactured and registered that produces CO2 emissions has to pay tax for it to be driven on the road. That includes hybrids. Electric cars that produce no emissions are free to tax.
Moving towards electric
All these changes are to encourage more and more of us to consider moving towards electric cars. However, what is required for most of us to do that, is for the infrastructure to be there for us to charge our cars and for a great variety of affordable electric cars to be offered on the market.
When these things happen, we are sure more and more of us will move away from fossil fuel-powered vehicles that produce harmful emission and move towards electric and hybrid cars. Hippo Leasing has a variety of electric and hybrid cars already on offer for those of you ready to take the plunge. If you are tempted to lease a car like that, feel free to check out what they have on offer today.