The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, today announced he will take forward the policy of reducing London's C02 emissions by introducing emissions-based charging to the existing congestion charge scheme. The mayor unveiled plans to charge the highest polluting vehicles �25 a day to drive in central London and the enlarged congestion charge zone to the west of the capital.

The proposals, to be consulted upon, could see the most polluting cars pay to enter the congestion charging zone, and lower polluting vehicles qualifying for a 100 per cent discount. Under the emissions-based Congestion Charging proposals, the following charges would apply Vehicle Excise Duty Band Charge A and B (less than 120g CO2 per km) which meet Euro IV standard £0 (100 per cent discount) C, D, E, F £8 (as now) G (above 225g CO2 per km) £25 Subject to consultation, it is proposed that the 100 per cent discount for the least polluting vehicles will be introduced in 2008.

The surcharge for band G vehicles that emit the most C02 is expected to be possible from 2009/10, although the Mayor has asked Transport for London to examine the possibility of an earlier start date. The 90 per cent resident's discount currently enjoyed by those living within the congestion charging zone, will be withdrawn for vehicles in band G.

Mr Livingstone, said: "Londoners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to tackle climate change and reduce C02 emissions. Most vehicles that will be charged £25, in Vehicle Excise Duty Band G, are high priced models. Those who buy them can afford to choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream car market but have chosen to buy one of the most polluting vehicles.

By making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of new car on the environment and the planet. "We are already cleaning up London's fleet of public vehicles through measures like the introduction of Hybrid buses. These new proposals will tackle pollution from private vehicles, and ensure that London is leading the way in the fight against catastrophic climate change."