Changes To Congestion Charge Scheme Announced

Mayor's 'cultural revolution' branded 'class war' by critics

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Mayor Ken Livingstone has announced changes to the Congestion Charging Scheme which included more than tripling the daily charge for ‘Chelsea tractors’.

Vehicles which produce more than 225g/km of CO 2 or with engines greater than 3,000cc will be liable for the higher rate of £25 per day from October 2008. The new charge will affect a number of large luxury saloons, high-performance sports cars and big MPVs, plus large SUVs, 4x4s and double-cab pick-ups.

The 90% Residents' Discount for those who drive cars liable for the CO 2 charge has been scrapped as has the Alternative Fuel Discount (AFD) to new registrations.

The NHS reimbursement scheme has also been changed with patients travelling to hospital in vehicles liable for the £25 charge being reimbursed with only £8.

However, drivers entering the zone in cars producing less than 120g/km of CO2 (Band B) will no longer have to pay which critics claim could actually increase congestion with more people buying and running exempt vehicles.

The Mayor said the changes to the scheme are to “Encourage drivers within the charging zone to travel in vehicles which produce lower levels of carbon dioxide (CO 2).”

He continued “The primary aim of Congestion Charging remains to tackle congestion and encourage drivers to shift from private vehicles to public transport, walking and cycling.”

“Nobody needs to damage the environment by driving a gas-guzzling Chelsea tractor in central London. The C02 emissions from the most high-powered 4x4s and sports cars can be up to four times as great as the least-polluting cars.”

However, London Assembly Conservative Angie Bray criticised the Mayor’s announcement arguing that it highlights that the Mayor cannot be trusted. She said, “Ken Livingstone has imposed a carbon tax on Londoners and down graded his congestion charge. Congestion is no better today than when the charge was introduced. Now he’s going to exempt two entire categories of car from paying the charge. How is that supposed to deter driving?

“And then at the other end of the scale he tells you that in this ‘cultural revolution’ of his, he is against ‘ Chelsea tractors’; ‘luxury saloons’ and ‘high performance sports cars’ – that sounds like class war if anything does. What he doesn’t tell you is that the family cars he spoke of today as alternatives, like a Mondeo or Vectra, will also be clobbered by the £25 charge.”

See the Congestion Charging - new charging structure for further information.

Find out your vehicle's CO 2 emission level or engine capacity

There are a number of ways to find out the CO 2 emissions level or engine capacity of your car. For cars registered with the DVLA on or after 1 March 2001, check the vehicle's V5C registration document for its CO 2 emissions level.

If your car was registered with the DVLA before 1 March 2001, the registration document will show its engine size (CO 2 emission level information is not available for cars first registered with the DVLA before 1 March 2001). If you are considering buying a new car, you can check the emissions level at http://www.vcacarfueldata.org.uk/

The charge will remain imposed Monday-Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) between 7am and 6pm.

February 13, 2008