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Plug-in hybrids will face London congestion charge from 2021

London congestion charge zone sign

Plug-in hybrid vehicles will no longer be exempt from the London congestion charge after 2021, as part of a new package of measures aimed at tackling congestion and improving air quality.

The Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have also confirmed that private hire vehicles will no longer be exempt from the congestion charge in central London.

Following a public consultation that received more than 10,000 responses, the changes to the congestion charge include the replacement of the ultra-low emission discount with a new phased cleaner vehicle discount (CVD) that will incentivise only the cleanest vehicles to drive in central London.

The proposals follow the announcement of a new £23 million scrappage scheme to help take the most polluting vans off London roads.

Currently, cars which emit more than 75g/km of CO2 are exempt from the congestion charge. From April 8, 2019, to October 24, 2021, new, tighter standards will be in place for vehicles to qualify for the new Cleaner Vehicle Discount.

Vehicles must:

  • Meet the Euro 6 emission standard
  • Emit no more than 75g/km
  • Have a minimum 20-mile zero emission capable range.

From October 25, 2021, to December 24, 2025, only pure electric vehicles will be eligible for the CVD. All other vehicles, regardless of their emissions status, will need to pay the congestion charge, unless they are registered for another discount or have an exemption.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, said: “Toxic air pollution in London is a major public health crisis that is stunting the lung development of our children and leads to thousands of premature deaths and increases the risk of asthma and dementia.

“We have to make tough decisions to protect the health and wellbeing of Londoners and tackle harmful emissions from the most polluting vehicles.

“We’ve prioritised cleaning up our bus fleet and the early introduction of the 24-hour Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London. Now we need private hire vehicles and taxis to play their part and help us clean up our filthy air.”

The changes affecting private hire vehicles are expected to reduce the number of PHVs circulating in the congestion charging zone by up to 8,000 a day.

The new package of measures being proposed by the Mayor and TfL to tackle taxi emissions and support drivers switching to new zero emission capable taxis includes:

  • An enhanced delicensing fund, providing up to £10,000 for drivers who trade in their older, dirtier vehicles early
  • A £2.5 million fund to help drivers of newer Euro 5 taxis to convert to much cleaner LPG fuel
  • A consultation early next year on a phased reduction in maximum taxi age limits for the dirtiest vehicles from 15 years to 12 years by 2022
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  • James O'brian - 20/12/2018 12:15

    It's becoming very clear that no matter what you do to reduce your carbon footprint and pollution, the government will find a way to shaft you one way or another.

  • Charles - 08/02/2019 19:10

    This Mayor is so disconnected from the everyday Londoner. It's a joke! So financially help Taxi drivers who earn way more money than PHV drivers to buy new vehicles.

  • Cristina - 26/04/2019 23:09

    "From October 25, 2021, to December 24, 2025, only pure electric vehicles will be eligible for the CVD. All other vehicles, regardless of their emissions status, will need to pay the congestion charge, unless they are registered for another discount or have an exemption" Does it mean that plug ins will have to pay the congestion charge only (7am-6pm) but won't have to pay anything during the rest of the day or they will have to pay regardless the time? Thank you

  • Ash - 24/04/2020 22:17

    its a disgrace that PHV are banned from 2021 but dirty polluting taxis have a 15 year (possibly reduced to 12) phase out period. dirty taxis need to be removed more quickly. PHV should have at least a 5 year run out to justify expense and why are electric not exempt indefinitely if this is about 'protecting health a well being' rather than 'congestion'. thsi mayor has lost the plot!

  • mata - 18/08/2020 01:07

    This rules comes to charge money instead to improve air quality .

  • KC - 21/08/2020 11:08

    With the new Charges, it will only push business in Zone 1 and 2 in London to outer zone of London and 3000cc+ engine will do very well in zone 4 and beyond. Lots of smoke and noises. It will become so expensive for visitor and business to visit and operate. Many places of worship will close down due to lack of visitors in London.And the CC changes will only go up as lack of revenue from visitor driving in London. I think it will be £20+ per visit to drive into CC London zone by Christmas 2020.

  • Alan Hines - 23/02/2021 15:28

    Its all about making money for TFL, they expect car drivers to pay for public transport as if we don't pay enough in tax and vat. TFL are just vultures after car drivers money, WE ARE JUST EASY CASH COW.

  • George - 28/02/2021 19:36

    Daylight robbery by the Government. Sadiq Khan should be ashamed of himself. Let's vote him out!

  • Tom - 12/03/2021 09:17

    Mr Khan has to go, he set up a scrappage scheme for commercial vehicles but this has now stopped due to lack of funding, again more money to find to continue working in London.

  • AndyPandy - 28/04/2021 16:08

    I'm not sure how a BMWi3 Range Extender manages to not be exempt given that the petrol is used to charge the battery and there is no engine. Can wnyone help me understand the logic?

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