Capita wins deal to charge polluting vehicles

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The Independent Online

Capita has been contracted to develop a system geared towards penalising the drivers of polluting vehicles in London as part of a wider initiative to reduce pollution in the capital.

The scheme could come into effect by 2008 when heavy vehicles face stiff penalties unless they comply with stringent emission standards set by the European Union.

The company also won an extension to its contract to operate the congestion charge system in London. Its tariff zone is due to be expanded to the west of the capital early next year.

Transport for London has pledged to improve air quality in London by establishing a "low emission zone" whereby vehicles that heavily pollute the air will be charged up to £200 a day to enter the Greater London area. The scheme hinges on the results of a public consultation due to take place in November and final approval from the London Mayor, Ken Livingstone. The project could be in operation by early 2008. The scheme does not apply to cars, instead focusing on older buses, coaches, vans and minibuses.

Transport for London has signed up Capita to develop a system for identifying heavy vehicles that do not meet EU emission standards. The £14m contract will see Capita develop a similar system to that used for the congestion charge whereby cameras identify number plates and check them against a database. The deal will run until 2009, Transport for London said.

Capita also won a £90m extension to its contract to operate the London congestion charge. The scheme will be extended to areas such as Notting Hill and Kensington in the west of the capital in February.

The fee, which has risen to £8 a day from £5 since it began in 2003, has been designed to reduce traffic. Capita's contract has been extended by two years to November 2009.