Associations have expressed concern at the effectiveness of the new London T-Charge, which went live last week ahead of the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) next year.

The T-Charge fines drivers of pre-Euro-4 vehicles entering London’s congestion charge zone between 7am and 6pm on any weekday, £10 on top of the £11.50 congestion charge.

FTA head of policy for London Natalie Chapman said while the charge could affect some vans and older HGVs, the effect on the road haulage industry would be minimal. She added that she was uncertain the T-Charge will do enough to remove older vehicles from London roads.

“We are talking about vehicles that are more than 10 years old, so the charge will have minimal effect on the freight industry," she said.

"I suspect it depends on how often people use these vehicles. If it is for an occasional journey they may just decide to pay the T-Charge, so although it will certainly raise revenues, will it make a real difference to emissions?”

The RHA warned that the T-Charge, combined with the planned Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), risks damaging London’s economy and dismissed the charge as “just another tax on business in the capital”.

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RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said: “The T-Charge on HGVs is a modest tax, but the changes London mayor Sadiq Khan plans for ULEZ in 2019 will be a massive burden. It will impose taxes on operators of trucks just a few years old who cannot afford to replace nearly-new trucks. We will see jobs lost and hauliers put out of business to achieve modest air quality improvement.”

TfL said that since the T-Charge was announced in February the daily number of older, more polluting, vehicles driving into the congestion zone had decreased by approximately 15%.

When the tax went live on Monday (21 October), Khan said: “Today marks a milestone with the introduction of the T-Charge to encourage motorists to ditch polluting, harmful vehicles.

“London has the world’s toughest emission standard. This is the time to stand up and join the battle to clear the toxic air we are forced to breathe.”

TfL director of strategy Gareth Powell said: “We are encouraged that people appear to be heeding these initiatives and finding environmentally friendly ways to travel. This is the bedrock on which the mayor’s ambitious plan for a zero-emission city by 2050 is built.”