T-charge launch: Scheme is ‘a £23million attack on London’s small businesses and poorest drivers’

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  • Mayor’s assessments show T-charge will have ‘negligible’ impact on air quality
  • Expected to reduce poisonous gases by just 1-3%
  • Charge will cost London’s poorest drivers £23million a year
  • Small businesses and self-employed could be hammered by fees
  • Mayor accused of ‘blowing smoke’ with T-charge effectiveness claims


The Mayor of London has ‘launched an attack on small businesses and London’s poorest drivers’ by introducing a road tax that ‘won’t make a dent’ in London’s harmful emissions.

Transport for London assessments show the T-charge will have a ‘negligible’ impact on air quality and is predicted to reduce NOx emissions by just 1-3%.

Shaun Bailey AM believes the T-charge, as well as the Mayor’s planned expansion of the ULEZ, will put jobs at risk. Earlier this year he put forward an alternative plan which included investing more in hydrogen buses and targeting pollution hot spots around the capital.

A total of 9,000 non-compliant vehicles are expected to be hit with the T-charge every day from Monday, at a total cost to drivers of over £23million a year. [1]

Small businesses with older vehicles will be hardest hit, facing fees of £2,600 a year[2] or having to fork out between £3,000 and £7,000 to renew their vehicles[3].

London Assembly member Shaun Bailey said:

“As an asthmatic I’m well aware of how critical an issue this is for London but we need policies that actually deliver progress.

“When the Mayor’s own assessments prove it won’t work, the T-charge becomes nothing more than an attack on London’s poorest drivers and small businesses.

“Sadiq Khan tells us he is desperate to clean up London’s harmful emissions but this road tax won’t make a dent. I will be happy to support the Mayor when he comes forward with policies that support London and not just his image.

“By boasting about a policy that so disproportionately penalises London’s poorest drivers and puts jobs at risk, the Mayor is simply blowing more smoke into the capital’s already-polluted atmosphere.”

Howard Cox, founder of the FairFuelUK campaign, which is preparing a legal challenge to the scheme, said:

“The Mayor’s decision to strike hard-working drivers with an ineffective new toxic tax was unlawful, acting completely outside of his official powers.

“Mr Khan has not even had the decency to hold a public inquiry on the issue, ignoring the sentiments of small businesses and drivers who will be hit hardest.

“Everything about this punitive tax stinks of political idealism and opportunism, based on flawed, distorted evidence.

“Passenger cars are responsible for less than 20% of the pollutants in London, yet they will be wrongly picking up 100 per cent of Sadiq Khan’s exploitative scheme.

“The Mayor has totally ignored proven and effective ways to lower emissions by resorting to a quick cash-grab on the very people who elected him. FairFuelUK supporters want this tax and the Mayor taken to task and legally scrutinised.”



  • Shaun Bailey is the GLA Conservatives’ environment spokesman

[1] 7,000 non-compliant cars and 2,000 non-compliant vans are expected to travel every day within the T-Charge area. As the daily charge is £10 a day, if all of these 9,000 vehicles have to pay the daily charge for every working day (260 days), this will be a total cost to Londoners of around £23 million in the first year.

[2] Based on a £10 charge for each of the 260 working days in a calendar year.
[3] According to TfL, the minimum vehicle replacement cost (taking into account trade-in value and depreciation) is £2,400 for cars and £3,000 for vans.

From TfL’s ‘Assessment outcomes’ report:

  • As this scheme affects just seven per cent of vehicles entering the Congestion Charging zone, the anticipated reduction in air pollution is low, and it was felt that air quality concentration modelling would not produce any significant results.
  • Assessment and scale of impact (on air pollution): ‘Negligible Positive’

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