New anti-vehicle pollution measures planned for central London have been described by our managing director, Simon Hill, as a short term solution to a long term problem. Simon said the Toxicity Charge, due to be launched in October, was a “start” but he also warned against “kneejerk reaction” decisions to combat a UK-wide issue. The charge is due to be rolled out in October.
Simon’s comments came as he welcomed a decision in Paris to cut pollution through a ban on older vehicles during certain times. The French Crit’Air system – which has also been rolled out in Lyon and Grenoble –identifies six categories. Each vehicle must have sticker specifying its registration year, energy efficiency and emission band. All diesel-fueled vehicles produced from 1997 to 2000 are banned under the scheme.
Vehicles registerd before 1997, and lorries and buses pre-2001, are not in any category. They are banned from 8am to 8pm, Monday to Friday.
Simon said: “The idea in Paris is good, as the worst polluters are the older diesels, pre-2004, so getting these off the road can only be a good thing. In London, the Toxicity Charge is a start, but I believe it is a short term solution to a long term problem which faces not only London but UK cities as a whole. To get the answers right, we will need much more thought rather than a knee-jerk reaction.”
The new Toxicity Charge, or T-Charge will see the more polluting vehicles face a daily surcharge. From October 23 cars, vans, minibuses, coaches and HGVs will need to meet minimum exhaust standards or pay a £10 daily Emissions Surcharge, in addition to the Congestion charge
More than 200 European cities have launched low emission zones, with some operating systems similar to that in Paris.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said the policy was launched to encourage motorists to “change their transport modes” and cut traffic following sharp peaks in the city’s smog levels.