The introduction of such measures will be detrimental (and costly) to those running the highest-polluting vehicles. The new levy, expected to be £25 per day and beginning before 2009...

London Mayor Ken Livingstone will announce in the next week a new levy on high-polluting vehicles in Central London while allowing 'greener' cars exemption when entering the city's congestion charge zone, reports Britain's Sunday Times.

The new charging system, expected to be introduced between next year and 2009, would allow low emission vehicles in Bands A and B (under 120g/km of CO2) of the vehicle excise duty classification system to be exempt from the £8 daily charge. Exemption is presently restricted only to hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles.

The introduction of such measures will however be costly to those running the highest-polluting vehicles. The new levy, expected to be £25 per day, is likely to be for Band G vehicles only - those producing over 225g/km of CO2. As horrific as this sounds, the £25 charge applies to only some 500 vehicles in the UK, while the new exemptions apply to over 200,000. It is not yet known whether further charging tiers will increase the cost to average-polluting vehicles.

Mayor Ken has already been discussing the adoption of congestion and emission-based charging with other world city mayors including New York, while similar schemes are up for consultation in a number of UK towns and cities.

The expected announcement will follow the introduction of new low-emission zones based on Euro compliancy standards for emissions in a number of major towns and cities in Germany. No daily charges have been introduced, however €40 fines will be issued should drivers be found driving in a zone in which their vehicle rating does not allow entry.

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