Up to 19,000 motorists who’ve bought eco cars to avoid having to pay the London Congestion Charge could soon be forced to stump up the daily fee.
At present, any car emitting less than 100g/km is exempt from the £10 charge. But under new Transport for London (TfL) proposals, the threshold would be lowered to 75g/km.
The changes, planned for the spring, would also hike the fine for non-payment by £10 to £130.
Owners of cars that no longer qualify for exemption wouldn’t have to start paying the charge until 2015. But only nine models currently on sale in the UK would be exempt – including six all-electric cars. Not one purely petrol or diesel model would qualify.
TfL claims the charge reduced congestion in central London by around 25 per cent when it was introduced in 2003, and this has remained stable since then. It adds that traffic delays in central London fell by 3.1 per cent and by 4.2 per cent in inner London between 2007 and 2011.
We asked TfL whether the C-charge is merely a toll, and a spokesman said: “A toll taxes motorists to pay for the cost of building and maintaining the road. But the charge’s objective is to reduce congestion.”