TECHNOLOGY being developed at Siemens in Poole will power London’s plans for a 24-hour, 365-day charging scheme to enforce ultra-low emissions.

London mayor Sadiq Khan has brought forward the introduction of an ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in the capital to April 8, 2019, 17 months earlier than originally planned.

The new scheme will affect up to 60,000 vehicles a day, compared with the estimated 6,500 affected by the current congestion charge.

Siemens Intelligent Traffic Systems (ITS), whose technology already enforces the world’s largest congestion charging scheme in London, is working over the next year to deliver the software.

Paul Cowperthwaite, Transport for London’s general manager for road user charging, said: “By April 2019 all vehicles, barring some exemptions, will need to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge when travelling in central London.

“We are working to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place by 2019 and assigning projects to contractors such as Siemens will ensure we meet this deadline. London’s air quality isn’t a part time issue so once the ULEZ goes live, it will be in operation 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”

Siemens built the existing congestion charge system and has been operating and maintaining it for more than 10 years. It says its technology has a reliability level of more than 99.9 per cent and has processed more than two billion vehicle detection records.

Siemens ITS sales and marketing director Matthew Vincent said: “As cities continue with their aspirations to improve the air quality, increasingly they need to revert to the implementation of a clean air zone (CAZ) or low emission zones (LEZ).

“Siemens is proud that its technology has been chosen in London and we look forward to working with other cities and regions in developing their own implementation of scalable LEZ/CAZ solutions that support their local needs.”

The company says a significant proportion of traffic in the ULEZ will be from outside the zone, so the benefits of reduced emissions will be felt across Greater London.

There will be two charge levels under the ULEZ -- £12.50 a day for cars, vans and motorcycles, and £100 a day for lorries, buses and coaches. The charges will be in addition to the congestion charge, so the most polluting cars and vans will pay £24 per dayand lorries £111.50 during the hours of the congestion charge.

TfL says diesel cars that are no more than four years old should broadly meet the ULEZ requirement when the scheme comes into force, making ULEZ the tightest emission standard in the world.

Sadiq Khan has said: “London’s lethal air is one of the biggest health challenges of this generation.

“We can’t continue breathing in air so toxic it harms children’s lung development and causes chronic illness and premature death.

“I am determined to take the bold action needed to address this scourge once and for all.”