London mayor Sadiq Khan has confirmed he will bring forward the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone and plans to expand it from central London to the North Circular and South Circular roads.
The most polluting vehicles will have to pay a daily charge (£12.50 for cars, vans and motorbikes; £100 for buses, coaches and HGV) to enter central London from 8 April 2019 and Khan proposes extending the zone across greater London for heavy diesel vehicles, including buses, coaches and lorries, in 2020, and up to the North and South Circular roads in 2021.
The zone will apply to all vehicle types, except black taxis, making it the toughest clamp down on polluting vehicles to date.
Khan said: “The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing. Today I’m announcing bold proposals which are critically needed to safeguard Londoners from our air quality health crisis."
I want to announce my intention to consult on these proposals in good time so that business and those affected by new charges will have time to make changes they need to adapt to our low emission requirements.
Each scheme will be subject to consultation, with the proposal to bring forward the start date of the zone running until 25 June.
The black cab exemption, has though, drawn criticism from ride-hailing firm Uber.
Tom Elvidge, general manager of Uber in London, said Londoners will be "astounded that the mayor has exempted black cabs from measures which apply to everyone else".
"This is particularly surprising since Transport for London’s own figures show black taxis are responsible for 18 per cent of road transport nitrogen oxide emissions in central London," Elvidge added.
The announcement forms part of the mayor's effort to set out stricter rules in an effort to crack down on the capital's air pollution troubles. He has already announced a £10 toxicity charge starting in October. That will be in effect between 7am and 6pm from Monday to Friday for diesel or petrol cars registered before 2006.
It is expected to hit up to 10,000 vehicles with the worst emissions. Although the measure has faced criticism as it is only expected to lead to a small reduction in fumes, City Hall has said nearly two-thirds of those who responded to a consultation on the charge had supported its introduction.
Khan has also called on the government to back his demand for a nationwide diesel scrappage scheme. He wants £3,500 grants offered to get up to 70,000 polluting vans and minibuses off London roads, as well as £1,000 payments to help scrap London's oldest taxis.