Motorists with pre-2006 cars to pay extra £10 'T-charge' to drive in London

From today, owners of older, dirtier cars will be charged an extra £10 if they want to drive into London. The Mayor, Saddiq Khan, announced the "Toxicity charge" in February as part of a package of measures to clean up the capital’s "filthy air".

The "T-charge" will be introduced on October 23, the start of the autumn half-term, and will be in operation Mondays to Fridays from 7am to 6pm.

Why is the T-charge being introduced?

It's all part of the Mayor's plan to tackle air pollution. Around 9,000 early deaths in London are thought to be caused by long-term exposure to air pollution each year. As a result Mr Khan is investing £875m over the next five years to alleviate the problem.

Other initiatives include the launch of the world's first "Ultra Low Emission Zone", which would mean that all vehicles, except taxis, had to adhere to minimum emission standards. This is subject to consultation but could be in place in central London by 2019.

Which vehicles will be affected?

The £10 emissions surcharge is expected to affect around 10,000 of the oldest, most polluting vehicles - those that do not meet "Euro 4" standards, one of the EU-wide categories that define acceptable levels of harmful exhaust emissions.

The new 'T-charge' will be paid in addition to the London Congestion ChargeCredit: Reuters

Vehicles that fail to meet the standard required, and will therefore be subject to the charge, tend to be diesel and petrol cars, vans and minibuses registered before 2006.

How much will it cost?

The £10 T-charge is in addition to the existing Congestion Charge. The Congestion Charge is £11.50 a day if you pay in advance or on the same day or £14 if you don't pay until the next day.

The Congestion Charge applies to most vehicles driven within the "charging zone" in central London between Monday and Friday, 7am to 6pm. So motorists with cars that don't meet Euro 4 standards will have to pay £21.50 to drive in the zone if they pay in advance or on the day.

Is there any way to reduce the cost or avoid the charges altogether?

If you drive a dirty old banger in central London you'll need to pay the £10 T-charge - and that's that. But drivers can shave £1 off the daily Congestion Charge if they opt in to TFL's automated payment system, Auto pay. An administration charge of £10 a year applies.

The mayor is spending £875m to tackle air pollution over the next five years

If you live within the charging zone you can apply for a 90pc discount on one vehicle. Applications can be made on TFL's website and you'll need to pay a £10 admin charge.

Discounts also apply to Blue Badge holders, vehicles with more than nine seats and those that are considered "ultra-low emission". These are vehicles under 3.5 tonnes that produce less than 75g/km of CO2.

What if I fail to pay the Congestion Charge?

If you're caught you'll be sent a Penalty Charge Notice of £130. You've got 28 days to pay or challenge the fine. If you pay it within 14 days the fine is reduced to £65. If you fail to do anything the charge will increase to £195, with no chance to appeal.