What is the London T-Charge?

Baffled by London emission charges? The T-Charge precedes 2019 ULEZ charges with a £10 daily bill for polluting vehicles. Read on for more

BuyaCar team
Nov 7, 2019

The London T-Charge was Britain's first large-scale emissions charge. It came into force on October 23, 2017 and introduced a new charge upon drivers who took higher-polluting vehicles into central London. It was replaced by the new Ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in April 2019.

Like the current ULEZ emissions standards, the T-Charge targeted car, van, lorry, coach and bus drivers in vehicles deemed to produce higher levels of exhaust emissions, but the standards were much less stringent, meaning that fewer drivers had to pay.

If your vehicle didn’t meet the minimum emissions standard, then you woud be required to pay a £10 daily charge, whether you were in a car, van, lorry or bus. This was in addition to the Congestion Charge, which cost £11.50, making your total daily bill a susbtantial £21.50 for driving in central London during the week.

You only had to pay the T-Charge if you were driving in the very centre of London, though. It covered the same zone affected by the Congestion Charge, operating between Monday and Friday from 7am to 6pm. Outside of these hours, you could drive in the zone without being charged, even if your car didn't meet the emissions standards.

Which cars were affected by the T-Charge?

Only vehicles that failed to meet older Euro emissions standards were liable for the daily T-Charge. The current level, which all brand new cars must comply with is Euro 6 - this is also the standard required for ULEZ compliance.

The emissions standard that your car meets should be listed on its V5C registration document. If it’s not Euro 4 or higher, then you would have been liable for the T-Charge. Every car registered since 2006 has had to be Euro 4-compliant. Some earlier models are too.

Vehicles subjected to the T-Charge

Vehicle typeMin. emission standardT-Charge if below emission standardCongestion ChargeTotal daily fee
Cars and small vansEuro 4 (all cars registered since Jan 2006)£10£11.50£21.50
Vans and minibusesEuro 4 (Jan 2007)£10£11.50£21.50
Lorries Euro IV (Oct 2006)£10£11.50£21.50
Coaches and busesEuro IV (Oct 2006)£10£0£10
ResidentsDepends on vehicle (see above)£1£1.05£2.05

Vehicles of 40 years old or more - registered in a historic tax class - were exempt from paying the T-Charge. Motorbikes and mopeds were also exempt, no matter their age.

T-Charge exemptions

Anyone living inside the T-Charge zone with a vehicle that didn't meet the emissions standards only needed to pay a £1 surcharge - a 90% discount. If you were affected and already registered for the Congestion Charge Residents’ Discount, then you should have been registered automatically for the reduced fee. This discount continues with the ULEZ.

As well as classic cars that were 40 years old, taxis and minicabs licensed with Transport for London were fully exempt from the charge, too, along with blue badge holders, who automatically qualified for a full discount if they were already registered for a Congestion Charge discount.

Other vehicles exempt from the charge included those used by emergency services, recovery vehicles and Showman's vehicles.

How to avoid the London T-Charge

If your car was registered less than 10 years ago, then the T-Charge didn't apply. There was also no need for action if you didn’t drive in central London. But, if you did own a car that was registered before 2006 that didn't meet the Euro 4 emissions standards, and you regularly drove in London, then updating your car could pay for itself over several years in savings.

It made sense to buy a car that would also be free from the future ULEZ charges. That includes all electric carspetrol cars registered since 2006 and diesel cars registered since September 2015. Click below for a roundup of models that meet the latest, most stringent emissions standards to avoid the London ULEZ charges.


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