Last week the mayor of London issued a high pollution alert for the capital, which was broadcast across thousands of bus stops, message boards, river pier signs and underground stations.
It marked the tenth time that the air quality alert system has been used since Sadiq Khan came to power.
Khan, from the U.K. Labour party, has made tackling pollution a central policy of his time in office and from April 8 the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will be replacing the Emissions Surcharge (T-Charge) in London.
Diesel cars manufactured before 2015 and vans sold before September 2016 are likely to pay the new penalty, as well as petrol cars or vans built before 2006. They will be charged £12.50 ($16.50) to come into central London at any time and if they travel between 7:00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Monday to Friday will be hit by a further £11.50 congestion charge.
It's a whopping £24 a day for most affected and any driver who fails to pay the fee will be hit with a £160 fine.
London's transport authority, TfL, has projected the first year of the ULEZ revenue will be £174 million with costs at £47 million. The zone will massively increase in October 2021 to cover an area surrounded by the North and South Circular — two major roads that make up a perimeter roughly 8 miles from the center of London.
Critics say ULEZ is a huge tax on smaller companies. London lawmaker Shaun Bailey, from the Conservative Party, has said the scheme "disproportionately penalizes London's poorest drivers and puts jobs at risk," while the Road Haulage Association has called it a "massive tax burden" that will see "jobs lost" to achieve a modest air quality improvement.
But while it may seem unfair on those who rely on roads to travel for business, can we really afford not to try?