What was the London T-Charge?

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

BuyaCar team
Jan 25, 2022

The London T-Charge was Britain's first large-scale emissions charge. It came into force on 23 October 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 exceeded the emissions standard, then you would 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, making the daily bill for driving in Central London rather substantial.

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.

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 but 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 the vehicle (see above)£1£1.05£2.05


Vehicles that were 40 years old or more and 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 continued with the ULEZ until it expanded in October 2021.

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. Blue badge holders also 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" - those used for entertainment like circuses.

Avoiding the current ULEZ charge

It makes sense to buy a car that is free from the new ULEZ charges. This includes all electric cars, petrol cars registered since 2006, and diesel cars registered since September 2015. Click for more information about current London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) regulations and ULEZ-compliant cars.


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