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£10 T-Charge Comes into Force in London

Geoff Riley

23rd October 2017

As of today, a new £10 daily charge has come into force for older more toxic vehicles that drive into central London.

It is an intervention designed to tackle the growing problem of air pollution / poor air quality in the capital although of course it has triggered an inevitable debate over whether the charge will be effective, equitable and how the money raised might be used.

Is it a nudge? Some teachers argue that taxes and subsidies - operating through the price mechanism - should not be counted as a nudge. My instinct is to treat any intervention explicitly designed to change behaviour as a nudge!

Sustainable London welcomes the charge but wants the Mayor of London to go further.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) opposes the charge and fears there will be substantial damage caused to many small retailers and other businesses who cannot afford to run more modern vehicles.

A wider, long term issue is whether enough capital investment is going into providing an integrated mass transport hub that cuts the need to use private vehicles in London.

But there does appear to be a groundswell of opinion that air pollution is one of the most pressing issues in London at the moment - not least the link to thousands of premature deaths and chronic illnesses caused by damaging concentrations of pollutants in the atmosphere.

The House of Commons Library published a new report on air pollution standards in the EU and UK (October 2017). In the preface they wrote that:

"Air pollution is caused by a number of sources and human activities—such as industry and transport—and can have a detrimental effect on public health and the environment."

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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