Mayor’s T Charge a Vital Step to Avoiding Catastrophe

Publication Date: 23rd October 2017

Subject: Public health

With the Mayor of London’s new T Charge for the most polluting vehicles in London coming into effect today, the Chartered institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has hailed the move as a step towards averting a potential public health catastrophe in the capital.

The new charge, which applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006 that do not meet the European directive to regulate vehicle emissions, covers the same area as the pre-existing Congestion Charge.

The T Charge will cost motorists £10 a day, in addition to the £11.50 Congestion Charge, meaning some people will be charged a total of £21.50 a day to drive through central London.

However, with the recent publication of the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory, it is now clear that the capital is on the verge of a public health emergency, with figures showing that every person in London is breathing air that goes beyond global guidelines for dangerous toxic particles.

The report highlighted that every area in the capital exceeds World Health Organisation (WHO) limits for PM2.5, a very damaging air particle. Not only that, but 95% of Londoners live in areas that exceed the limit by a shocking 50% or more. 

It has been known for years that particulates PM10, PM2.5, and even finer particles, are a significant threat, and that, crucially, there is no safe level. However, in recent years, the Government has only focussed on NO2 levels, and even then it has only done so due to being forced through the courts. 

Responding to the news, Tony Lewis, Head of Policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, said:

“There is no doubt that air quality is a growing crisis that risks the health of every single Londoner. The Mayor’s decision to bring in a new charge on the most polluting vehicles is a welcome move, and an acknowledgement of the situation we are facing.

This measure will go some way to protecting the health of vulnerable Londoners, who often lack the means and support to improve their environment. We would hope government monitors this closely with a view to extending this across areas of the United Kingdom which are experiencing similarly high levels of particulates.  

Whilst this is a positive development, we repeat our call to government, that there simply must be a new Clean Air Act to address this deepening public health catastrophe.  It is unacceptable for the country to continue to rely on legislation that was created to tackle smoke and SO2 emissions from coal burning in the 1950’s and 60’s.”


Notes to editors 

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About the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH):   

The CIEH is the professional voice for environmental health representing more than 9,000 members working in the public, private and non-profit sectors. It ensures the highest standards of professional competence in its members, in the belief that through environmental health action people's health can be improved. 

Environmental health has an important and unique contribution to make to improving public health and reducing health inequalities. The CIEH campaigns to ensure that government policy addresses the needs of communities and business in achieving and maintaining improvements to health and health protection.  

For more information visit and follow the CIEH on Twitter @The_CIEH




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