London's ultra low emissions levy on older vehicles kicks in

FILE PHOTO - An exhaust emits fumes as a car is driven through Richmond in London, Britain December 2, 2016. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

LONDON (Reuters) - Drivers of older and more polluting cars, vans and motorbikes will have to pay 12.50 pounds ($16) to enter the center of London from Monday in a bid by the city’s mayor to improve air quality.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) charge generally affects petrol cars which were first registered prior to 2006 and diesel models from roughly September 2015 and beforehand.

During the daytime from Monday to Friday, most motorists must also foot an 11.50-pound congestion charge to enter the same area, which spans King’s Cross in the north, the City in the east, the Imperial War Museum in the south and Buckingham Palace in the west.

“Our toxic air is an invisible killer responsible for one of the biggest national health emergencies of our generation,” said Mayor Sadiq Khan.

“The ULEZ is the centerpiece of our plans to clean up London’s air – the boldest plans of any city on the planet, and the eyes of the world are on us.”

Reporting by Costas Pitas; Editing by Alistair Smout