London has applied a new traffic toll to the most polluting vehicles in the city centre, in the so-called Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), in order to combat environmental pollution.

Drivers of older, more polluting cars will have to pay a surcharge of £12.50 from today if they want to drive through the centre of the capital.

With this measure, Transport for London (TFL), a transport management public agency in the capital, aims to reduce the number of vehicles in the city and estimates that approximately 40,000 cars will be affected daily. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, considered it “important to make progress” in reducing environmental pollution and warned that air pollution of London is a “public health emergency”.

Cars that meet the requirements will have to pay the surcharge, in addition to the existing congestion toll – in force since 2002 – which is applied by circulating in the center. The measure will affect those vehicles registered before 2007 and those petrol cars and vans that did so before 2006.

It will also affect diesel cars and vans registered before 2015 and some buses and lorries which, if they do not meet the criteria for pollution levels, will pay £100 a day . TFL warns that drivers who do not pay the toll will face a fine of £160 although the first infringement could simply result in a warning letter.

The ULEZ will cover, as reported by the agency in a note, the area that covers circular roads from north to south until 2021. A 45 % reduction in toxic emissions from road transport is expected within two years.

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