The most polluting cars and vans will have to pay more money to enter the city centre as London Mayor Sadiq Khan brings forward his plans to clean up the capital’s air. From April 2019 some drivers will have to pay an extra £12.50 to enter the centre of London, as plans for an Ultra Low Emission Zone will be rolled out almost 18 months earlier than proposed by former Mayor Boris Johnson.

The zone, covering the same area as the Congestion Charge but operating 24/7, will apply to all petrol vehicles that fail to meet Euro Four emissions standards and all diesel models that fall below Euro Six standards.

In short, buses, coaches and HGVs will have to pay £100 to enter the zone while petrol cars that are more than 13 years old on the date of introduction or diesels that are more than four will have to pay the £12.50.

Sadiq said: “The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing.”

However, London Assembly member for the Green Party, Caroline Russell, said the Mayor’s actions did not go far enough.

The changes have been brought in 18 months earlier than Boris Johnson proposed

She said: “Londoners suffering from asthma, and other health conditions worsened by the dirty air, will be desperately disappointed by the Mayor’s sluggish timetable for clean air that backtracks on his manifesto promise.

“His original plans outlined a London-wide zone for buses, coaches and lorries as early as 2019, with an all-vehicle zone to the North Circular and South Circular by 2020.

“It’s very disappointing to see these delayed when around 9,000 deaths in London are attributed to air pollution every year.

“Waiting until 2020 just isn’t good enough.”

In contrast the Federation Of Small Businesses (FSB) has argued the Mayor is moving too quickly in implementing the zone in 2019.

It said there was not enough time to allow businesses to make changes to their fleets without wracking up huge expenses.

According to the FSB, 67% of members operate up to three vehicles and 54% of members expect these vehicles to be fall foul of the zone’s levy.

FSB London policy chair Sue Terpilowski said: “The FSB supports the principle of improving air quality and removing from the roads those vehicles that contribute disproportionately to air pollution.

“No responsible business organisation can condone the use of excessively polluting engines.

“However, we are concerned about the need to ensure that any improvements in air quality are not achieved at a disproportionately high cost to business with damaging consequences for jobs, business viability and the economy as a whole.”

The Mayor will also be launching a consultation into expanding the zone to the whole of London from 2020 for buses, coaches and lorries, and to an area spanning from London City Airport to Tottenham’s White Hart Lane and from Kew Gardens to Clapham Common for all cars from 2021.

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