Under the current rules, motorists driving cars that emit less than 100g/km of CO2 can enter the London Congestion Charge zone free of charge but light commercial vehicles of sub-100g/km emissions are not exempt from the fee of £10 a day.
Planthire runs two Vauxhall Corsavans with emissions of 89g/km CO2 and makes an average of six journeys a week into the congestion zone from its Heathrow base. It claimed it was being forced to pay £3000 a year to run low emission vans in the centre of London.
John Tocher, the firm’s general manager, said: “Although we knew when we ordered the Corsavans that they were not exempt, we felt sure that TfL would change the exemption. It makes sense that if cars with emissions under 100g/km CO2 are exempt vans emitting less than 100g/km shouldn’t have to pay the congestion charge either.”
Tocher added that having to pay the charge was almost negating the fuel savings the company made from operating frugal vans.
Vans continue to remain excluded from the congestion charge exemption despite London mayor Boris Johnson expressing support for LCV operators, calling vans “the lifeblood of this city”.
Richard Collier, Vauxhall’s commercial vehicle sales manager, said: “We would love our Corsavan Ecoflex customers to get the same congestion charge exemption as our Corsa Ecoflex customers.”