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New London pollution tax comes into force

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LONDON: Drivers of the most polluting vehicles will face an extra daily charge for driving into central London on weekdays from Monday in a bid to improve air quality in one of Europe’s most polluted cities.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the new £10 ($13.2) charge — which will be on top of a daily £11.50 congestion charge — in February, after the European Union ordered Britain to cut air pollution.

“As mayor I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air,” Khan said in a statement.

“The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces, with thousands of premature deaths caused by air pollution, must be addressed,” he added.

Read More: Pollution killed nine million people in 2015: report

The charge applies to all petrol and diesel cars that were registered before the introduction of environmentally friendly Euro 4 emissions standards.

Transport for London said that anyone with a vehicle registered before 2008 should check if it might be eligible for the charge.

The charge is intended to prepare Londoners for the introduction of an Ultra-Low Emission Zone across the city center from April 2019.

The European Commission in February issued a warning to five member states, including Britain, urging them to take action on car pollution or risk being sent to the European Court of Justice.

Read More: Air pollution linked to kidney disease risk: study

The European Commission said that “persistently high” levels of nitrogen dioxide caused 70,000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013.

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