At a recent meeting to discuss Beijing's air pollution, the Beijing authorities said the Municipal Environment Protection Bureau and the Municipal Commission of Development and Reform are conducting research on charging a congestion fee in the capital.
Air pollution has become one of the most serious problems Beijing faces in the recent years, as it has a remarkably negative impact on residents' lives. At present there are more than 5.6 million vehicles in Beijing, which discharge 700,000 tons of pollutants every year. Statistics show that in 2014 vehicle emissions were the single biggest source of the PM2.5 in Beijing, accounting for one-third.
As the public has shown ever-increasing concern about the air quality, the Beijing authorities have taken actions to address this issue. As early as Sept 2013, Beijing launched a five-year clean air action, which mainly aims to deal with the vehicle emissions.
Beijing government has long been considering charging a congestion fee in urban areas to reduce vehicle emissions, and it has said it plans to launch pilot projects this year.
The authorities said Beijing will learn from London and Singapore's experiences of charging congestion fees. Experts expect that congestion fees will soon be charged nationwide.