Under pressure to hit his target of a 27% reduction in in car vehicle kilometres, The Mayor of London is looking to introduce yet more changes that aim to deter vehicles from driving into and around Greater London.
A new report, Element Energy net zero by 2030, commissioned by the Mayor is looking at multiple proposals to reduce car journeys across Greater London and has suggested the capital will need a new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade at the latest.
Should this new system prove to be successful at reduce mileage, it’s difficult to see how other major cities around the UK wouldn’t adopt a similar strategy as 2030 approaches.
The proposed system would abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ - and replace them with scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.
As with current zones and charges, it is expected there would be exemptions and discounts for those on low incomes and with disabilities, as well as consideration around support for charities and small businesses.
Transport for London (TfL) says it will launch a public consultation on the short-term options, speaking to local government and businesses about the way forward but as with most public consultations on such subjects – they merely prove to be box ticking exercises that ultimately don’t impact the final outcome.
If the new system gets the go ahead – it would be introduced as early as May 2024.
Other alternatives include extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) beyond the north and south circular roads to cover the whole of Greater London, using the current charge level and emissions standards.
In addition to the current ULEZ charge, Khan has separately proposed to build on the existing scheme to include a small clean air charge that would operate across all of Greater London and would be the Mayor’s way of “nudging behaviour and reduce the number of short journeys by car”.
And in yet another cost there would also be a Greater London boundary charge, which would charge a “small fee” to non-London registered vehicles entering Greater London.
We understand all of these charges could seriously impact people’s livelihoods and raise concerns or worries about just how far Khan will go to make driving in the capital simply unaffordable for the majority.
The Mayor said this is in response to the increase in cars from outside London travelling into the city seen in recent years and in order to reduce transport emissions to meet net zero by 2030, the capital will need to see a “significant shift” away from petrol and diesel vehicle use.
At Regit, like many of our readers, we understand and support the vast majority of measures that are aimed at reducing emissions. We know there are serious problems that need to be solved for the protection of our planet, not just in the future, but today.
However, we also share the concerns that many of you have - you cannot just keep putting tax after tax on drivers until using a car simply isn’t an option.
Instead, it’s vital that proper financial support is given to motorists to help them transition to lower or ideally zero emission vehicles. Not only does that mean that we reverse recent measures to severely reduce the electric car grant, but electric infrastructure is built quicker and solutions are found for those that don’t have off street parking, so people have the confidence to know if they can choose an electric car, they will be comfortable with charging both at home and at work.
Let us know what you think below.