Just two weeks after new anti-pollution rules were outlined for central London, Mayor Ken Livingstone has declared war on 4x4s and high powered sports cars.

He has announced that from October 27, high polluting vehicles will face a daily congestion charge fee of £25 to drive in the capital – compared with the £8 fee for other vehicles.

Critics, however, say the charge is unlikely to have much effect since people who can afford high powered cars are unlikely to be bothered by the higher congestion charge.

Peer pressure however may be a much bigger factor in reducing the 4x4s in London. (Check out this video from Greenpeace which follows the owner of a gas guzzler on a typical day at the office )

Transport for London says the primary aim of Congestion Charging is still to encourage drivers to shift from private vehicles to public transport, walking and cycling.
It says around 80 per cent of cars will not be affected by the changes and some low emission cars will not pay the charge at all since a discount of 100 per cent will be given to cars producing less than 120g/km C02 if they either meet the Euro 4 standard for emissions or appear on the PowerShift register.

he new £25 fee applies to cars registered before March 2001 with an engine size over 3000 cc and cars registered after that date which produce more than 225g/km of C02. (If you’d like to check your own vehicle, the engine size for older vehicles and the emission level of newer cars can be found on your vehicle registration document (log book.)
And, if you are thinking of buying a new car, you can check out its emissions here
For full details of the Congestion Charge Zone and the charging hours, log onto the Transport for London website

Mayor, Ken Livingstone says he hopes the new rules will have an impact worldwide with other cities following London’s lead.

He said: “Nobody needs to drive a gas-guzzling Chelsea tractor (the fashionable term for 4x4s) in central London. The CO2 emissions from the most high-powered 4x4s and sports cars can be up to four times as great as the least polluting cars.”

He says the charge will encourage people to switch to cleaner vehicles or use public transport. Those who don’t will pay for the environmental damage they cause.

“This is the ’polluter pays’ principle. At the same time, the 100 per cent discount for the lowest CO2 emitting vehicles will give drivers an incentive to use the least polluting cars available.”

However, he has been criticised for the 100 per cent discount for greener vehicles. Campaigners say that even if their emissions are low, they still contribute to congestion in London and their presence means high polluting vehicles come to a standstill in traffic more often.




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