London, Apr 4: London has become the first city in the world to announce an ultra-low emission zone to tackle rising levels of air pollution, under which the drivers of the most polluting cars will have to pay an extra charge.
London mayor Sadiq Khan today announced that the new zone will be launched from April 8, 2019, when most polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay 12.50 pounds to drive through central London, while buses, coaches and HGVs will pay 100 pounds.
The mayor's office hopes the move will result in a 50 per cent drop in emissions by 2020.
"The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing. Now I urge the Government to step up and match my ambition to transform the appalling air we breathe," Khan said.
"I want to announce my intention to consult on these proposals in good time so that business and those affected by new charges will have time to make changes they need to adapt to our low emission requirements," he added.
The new charge in 2019 will replace the "toxicity charge", which comes into force from October this year, under which pre-2006 diesel and petrol vehicles will face an extra 10-pound charge when they enter central London during peak times.
The so-called T-charge will see owners of such vehicles paying extra on top of the existing 11.50-pound congestion charge.
Consultations on the various aspects of the proposals will take place this year to be ready to be imposed in two years' time.
The ultra-low emission zone is an area within which all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles will need to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel.