Transport for London is set to make £65,000 a day as a result of a pollution crackdown in which older diesel cars will be fined £10 a day for entering London.
Under a new "T charge" system, which comes into force today, some 6,500 cars are expected to drive into the capital and pay the fine each weekday.
From 7am drivers of older, more polluting petrol and the "dirtiest" diesel vehicles will pay the new T-Charge plus the congestion charge, meaning they will pay a total of £21.50 for every weekday they drive in the zone from 7am to 6pm.
Over the course of a year the total amount paid to TfL by drivers of older diesel cars could reach nearly £17 million, calculations show.
The large sums collected, which may be used to improve public services, is likely to encourage bosses of other city councils around the country to adopt similar crackdowns.
Thousands of drivers have already ditched their diesel cars for cleaner vehicles ahead of the new “T-charge".
The number of older diesel cars entering the the capital has dropped by more than a third in the year since the policy was announced. TfL's cameras are now recording 6,500 cars entering the capital's congestion charge zone a day, down by 3,500 compared to a year ago when 10,000 a day entered.
The policy is being introduced over fears that filthy air is causing a public health crisis in the capital. Recent health data has shown 7.9 million Londoners - nearly 95 per cent of the population – live in areas exceeding the World Health Organisation guidelines on toxic air quality particles.
It is estimated that air pollution contributes to thousands of premature deaths each year in London, as well as having effects over the course of our lives, from smaller lungs in our children to greater risk of dementia and strokes when we get older.
Prof. Stephen Holgate, from the Royal College of Physicians said: “We now know that air pollution has a substantial impact on many chronic long-term conditions, increasing strokes and heart attacks in susceptible individuals.
"The implementation of the T-charge is a positive step towards cleaning up London’s air and it is showing to the world that it is possible to change behaviours in order to reduce the harms from high polluting vehicles."
Gareth Powell, TfL’s director of strategy, said: “We are moving quickly on multiple fronts to improve air quality in the Capital. The T-Charge shows that London is leading the way with the toughest pollution standard of any world city, which will be further strengthened with the introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone.
"We are encouraged that people appear to be heeding these initiatives and finding more environmentally friendly ways to travel. This is the bedrock on which the Mayor’s ambitious plan for a zero emission city by 2050 is built.”