Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Road Haulage and Car Drivers Reminded Emissions Charge Goes into Effect in London from Next Week

All Motorists Should Check Vehicle Status Online to Ensure if Liable for Large Penalties
Shipping News Feature
UK – Readers are reminded that as of Monday the 23rd of October, London's new Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) will be in effect. All drivers, including private motorists and those using road haulage vehicles are subject to the new charge which encompasses the existing Central Congestion Charging Zone and will apply to older cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles which do not meet with the EURO 4 standard for emissions.

Vehicles that do not meet that standard will be required to pay an additional £10 per day to drive in the Central Congestion Charge Zone and the cost is in addition to the normal Congestion Charge. Both charges operate from 07:00 to 18:00, Monday to Friday, and the T-Charge will use the same payment and operational systems as the Congestion Charge, with eligible vehicles being identified and the driver paying for both the tolls in the same transaction.

It is important to note that vehicles that have exemptions to the existing charge, such as buses which have more than nine seats, will still be liable for the T-Charge if their emission standards do not meet the required levels. Transport for London (TfL) has a website where users can check the registration of their vehicles to see if they have to pay the additional charge, which can be found HERE.

Vehicles exempt from the charge are:

  • Motorcycles, mopeds and scooters that are exempt from the Congestion Charge are also exempt from the T-Charge.
  • Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge and the T-Charge when actively licensed with TfL. The exemption for PHVs only applies to private hire bookings.
  • Vehicles with a historic tax class (40 years and older) and/or commercial vehicles manufactured before 1973. These vehicles continue to be subject to the Congestion Charge.
  • Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds that are exempt from the Congestion Charge.
  • Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines, which have a taxation class of 'ambulance' or 'fire engine' on the date of travel.
  • NHS vehicles exempt from vehicle excise duty, Ministry of Defence vehicles.
  • Roadside recovery vehicles and accredited breakdown vehicles registered for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge.
  • Specialist off-road vehicles such as tractors and mobile cranes (that are exempt from Low Emission Zone).

The charge has already met with opposition from motoring lobby groups and our article in February outlined the impact it is likely to have on deliveries of goods in the city with the situation worsening for smaller haulage groups as the regulations evolve in the next few years. The need to clean London’s air is however paramount but no doubt the comparatively low key introduction of the T-Charge this month will produce a hefty financial return by way of fines on ill informed motorists.

Already we have discovered an anomaly in the system. As the fee payable is automatically charged it would be well for any operators of vehicles which may operate in the congestion zone to be sure of their vehicles status. A test run by the Handy Shipping Guide on an historic vehicle that is exempt according to the TfL parameters did return a result that showed the vehicle as liable for the charge.

The penalty for failure to pay the toll will be £130, reduced to £65 if paid within 14 days.