A charge of up to £12.50 a day on top of the congestion charge has been proposed to deter the most polluting vehicles from entering the centre of London.

The Mayor and Transport for London have launched a public consultation on proposals to introduce the world’s first Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in the capital on 7 September 2020.

The proposals, if implemented, would mean that drivers of the most polluting vehicles will have to pay £12.50 a day in addition to the congestion charge to enter London by 2020 as attempts are made to improve air quality in the capital.

TfL officials said that the main benefit of the zone would be to halve toxic fumes - nitrogen oxide and particulate matter - from vehicles.

Cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, HGVs and coaches will all have to comply or pay a daily charge, which for the largest vehicles will rise to £100 a day.

The proposals would require all vehicles travelling within the Congestion Charge zone to meet new emission standards and would be in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Many vehicles will meet these standards in 2020. However by introducing this requirement next year the Mayor and TfL aim to accelerate the take up of low emission vehicles and stimulate the low emission vehicle market.

TfL says that the ULEZ will also ensure that London’s air quality improves more quickly, making the capital a more pleasant place to live and work, and encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport.

Michèle Dix, managing director of planning at TfL, said: “Improving London’s air quality is of paramount importance as it affects the health and well-being of every Londoner. That’s why we are doing everything in our power to address emissions from road transport, with the introduction of an Ultra Low Emission Zone at the core of our work to improve the capital’s air.”