The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that drivers of petrol and diesel cars will need to face additional charges if it is to hit its climate change targets.
Khan has put forward his proposal on road pricing – which could see drivers charged a small daily fee of up to £2 – while suggesting in the future that drivers will need to face a ‘pay-per-mile’ system.
The road pricing policy is part of a push to get more people to walk, cycle or use public transport to get around London, while adding that electric cars should be adopted “where necessary”. Khan also added that he is “not willing to put off action”.
Research commissioned by the Mayor found that 27 per cent fewer cars would need to be on the roads by 2030 if it was to meet net-zero climate ambitions. According to the report, road pricing would replace the existing Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).
The idea of charging people for the number of miles they drive is controversial, though, and the technology to implement this is also said to be years away. Other policies being considered are an extension of the current ULEZ scheme to cover the entirety of London, rather than just the centre. Drivers entering the city from locations outside London being charged more is another policy that’s also been put forward.
No decision has yet been taken, but Khan wants to introduce the chosen measure by May 2024.
However, motoring groups have criticised the proposals, with the RAC saying that the move would ‘punish those who simply cannot afford an electric car’.
Nicolas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy said: “We all want to see cleaner air and cleaner vehicles on the road and it’s right the Mayor has ambitions to reduce emissions from road transport but these proposals could be beyond the means of many and will punish those who simply cannot afford an electric car.
“Worse still, proposals to charge vehicles outside of London to enter the boundary is likely to impact hardest on workers such as carers, tradespeople and night-time economy staff for whom there is no alternative to using a vehicle.
“At a time when the basic cost of living for Londoners is soaring, these proposals seem to be poorly timed, so we strongly urge the Mayor to think again instead of defaulting to extracting more money from the pockets of London’s drivers.”