A Toxic Tax

A new tax could soon cost Londoners up to £3600 per year if they choose to drive their cars into central London.

The Toxin Tax will be introduced on October 23rd this year, under an initiative driven by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.  The tax will consist of a £10 daily charge for driving certain cars inside the congestion zone.

The tax will apply to any vehicle – cars, minibuses, buses, coaches, vans and lorries – which fails to meet the minimum Euro 4 emissions standard will be charged.  The standard came into operation on the first day of 2006, so any cars or other vehicles built before that date are unlikely to meet the standard.

Since those vehicles are the ones most likely to be driven by those least able to afford another three and half thousand pounds a year (if they could, they would probably be driving a newer car) the tax threatens to create a transport gap between the haves and have nots.

Those with the money to drive a newer car will still be about to wind their way through London streets for just their £10 per day, while those with older vehicles will be forced onto cramped and irregular tube trains and buses.

It is an unlikely move for a left-wing mayor.

However, the official view from Transport bosses is that London residents and visitors are already exposed to illegal levels of air pollution.  These threaten to damage the heart as well as the lungs of people.  For some of the 95% of Londoners effected, the amount of air pollution breathed exceeds safe levels as identified by the World Health Organisations guidelines by over fifty per cent.

Transport for London has put an online tool on its website so people can see whether they will have to pay the new tax for the dubious pleasure of driving through the centre of London.  At least they can be assured that cars in the inevitable traffic jams will be newer models.

The measure is one of several Khan is proposing to ease the pollution problems of central London.  Whilst few would disagree that something needs to be done about air pollution – it causes tens of thousands of premature deaths every year – it seems a shame that the tax has not been applied to all cars, rather than just those whose owners cannot afford to pay it.

If this leaves you feeling as though it’s time to sell my car it could be worth trying an online car buyer as the quickest way to sell your car.

Other cities are likely to see the tax rolled out from 2020; these include Nottingham, Derby, Birmingham and Leeds.