Drivers of older diesel cars will need to pay up to £24 a day to drive in central London from April 2019 under the toughest crackdown by any major city on polluting vehicles.
Drivers of diesel cars less than two years old will face a £12.50 charge to drive in the planned ultra low emissions zone (Ulez), which cover the same central area as the current congestion charge zone.
Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, also announced plans for a tenfold increase in the size of the charging zone, meaning that drivers of pre-2016 diesel cars will be charged a daily fee from 2021 for coming inside the North or South Circular.
Under the plans, diesel cars that are more than four years old in 2019 and petrol cars that are more than 13 years old will face the charge 24 hours a day, year-round, in a bid to cut air pollution.
It is thought as many as 10 million diesel cars could be susceptible to the charges, with on the very newest models excluded.
Mr Khan ruled out a complete ban on diesel cars in London, stating that mayors of overseas cities who had promised such bans had failed to think it through and lacked specific plans for implementing it.
Last year, the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City pledged to ban diesel cars and vans by 2025.
London is one of a number of areas in the UK where air quality is failing to meet legal standards, contributing to early deaths and ill health among residents. The mayor said he would consult with Londoners who give those affected time to adapt to the new rules.
He mayor said: “The air in London is lethal and I will not stand by and do nothing.
“Today I’m announcing bold proposals which are critically needed to safeguard Londoners from our air quality health crisis.”
Mr Khan said the measures would help improve the air that millions of Londoners breathe, and was consulting on them now to give those affected by the new charges time to adapt to the low emissions rules.
“Now I urge the Government to step up and match my ambition to transform the appalling air we breathe.
“Ministers need to deliver a national vehicle scrappage fund, reform fiscal incentives like vehicle excise duty and pass a powerful new Clean Air Act to end the toxic smog in London once and for all,” he added.