TfL introduces tough new rules for congestion charge exemption
The move sees the introduction of the new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) scheme to replace the previous Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) and the Electric Vehicle Discount, although anyone registered for the latter will automatically be transferred to the new ULED.
The ULED will be introduced on 1 July 2013 and will provide a single 100 % discount from the Congestion Charge for electric vehicles and ultra low emission cars and vans.
To qualify for the new discount vehicles will have to be either pure electric or be cars and vans that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emission standard for air quality.
Under the previous GVD scheme, introduced from 4 January 2011, vehicles with 100g/km and Euro 5 status qualified for the discount.
However, TfL announced a “sunset period” for the GVD scheme in order to recognise that many drivers made the decision to purchase a low emission car in order to benefit from the existing discount.
As a result, current owners of cars registered for the GVD will continue to receive a full discount for that vehicle for three years – an increase from the two years proposed in the consultation on the changes. This will mean that such vehicles will continue to receive the GVC until 24th June 2016.
The Mayor confirmed the changes following a 12-week consultation on the proposals, which sought the views of Londoners, businesses and key stakeholders.
John Mason, TfL’s director responsible for congestion charging, said: 'We were pleased with the level of response from Londoners, businesses and stakeholders which has helped us and the Mayor shape our decisions.
'We've listened to the responses and have decided to extend the sunset period for current GVD registered vehicles by an additional year.
'We are confident that these changes will make the scheme greener and more efficient.'
The Mayor also announced two further changes to the scheme that will see the removal of the option to pay the charge in shops, which is now used for only six per cent of payments, and an increase in the level of penalty charge from £120 to £130.
TfL added that while the ULED is technology neutral, no currently available diesel car would meet the criteria for the discount. It said that this is unlikely to change in the immediate future in line with the organisation’s aims to help tackle the increasing dieselisation of London's car fleet.
Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor of London's advisor on the Environment, said: 'These changes are in line with the Mayor's aim to improve air quality in London by reducing emissions from private vehicles and promoting the further development of low-emission vehicles.
'We want to encourage the continued development of these technologies, while also protecting the benefits to traffic flow in the centre of London that the charge provides.'