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Sadiq Khan plots to hit drivers in London with 'pay per mile' charges

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 18/01/2022 Rory Tingle, Home Affairs Correspondent For Mailonline and Daily Mail Reporter

Sadiq Khan was today accused of a 'money-making' plot to force motorists to 'pay per mile' to drive in London.  

The capital's Labour mayor wants road pricing to force those who drive petrol or diesel cars to switch to public transport, walking, cycling or electric vehicles 'where necessary'. 

Mr Khan said he is 'not willing to put off action' to hit climate targets after research he commissioned found a 27 per cent reduction in London's car traffic was required by 2030 to meet net-zero ambitions.

A report by City Hall said per-mile charges would be a 'simple and fair scheme' that could replace existing fees such as the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zone. No figure was started for how much the fee could be. 

Hugh Bladon, from the Alliance of British Drivers, branded the proposal 'outrageous' and said the level of monitoring such a scheme would require was 'absolutely unacceptable'.  

Tony Devenish, Conservative London Assembly member for Hammersmith & Fulham, suggested Mr Khan was trying to turn London into a city where 'only the rich will be able to drive'. 

And Pimlico Plumbers founder Charlie Mullins OBE called the proposal 'a money maker by a skint mayor' and accused Mr Khan of 'hitting the people who keep the capital moving'. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan seen arriving at the Global Radio Studios in London last week. He has been accused of clobbering hard-up motorists with his plans to charge them by the mile in London © Provided by Daily Mail London Mayor Sadiq Khan seen arriving at the Global Radio Studios in London last week. He has been accused of clobbering hard-up motorists with his plans to charge them by the mile in London

What are Khan's plans to hit motorists?

The Mayor's ultimate ambition is to introduce the world's first per-mile road-user charging scheme to London by the end of the decade. No figure was given for how much motorists could be charged. 

In the meantime, Mr Khan is also considering the following before the end of his second term of office in May 2024: 

He told MailOnline: 'Climate change is a serious issue, but he's putting the cart before the horse. 

'Workers like plumbers can't get round London with their tools on the tube or on the back of a bike, so until there are electric vehicle charging points on every street, their diesel vans are the only option.

'Yet again he is hitting the people in the pockets that keep the capital moving – the commuters travelling to work, the tourists visiting the city and the workers trying to do their jobs. It will destroy business and London.'   

The City Hall document noted that the technology to charge drivers per mile is 'still years away from being ready', so Mr Khan is considering policies which 'could be ready within the next few years'.


Video: Sadiq Khan Forced To Defend Biggest Ever London Council Tax Increase (Evening Standard)

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One approach is for the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which costs £12.50 per day to enter, to cover all of London, and introduce a 'clean air charge' of around £2 for 'all but the cleanest vehicles.  

Mr Khan is also considering charging drivers from outside London about £3.50  for entering the city. 

Motoring groups said policies should focus on helping motorists get electric vehicles, rather than punishing those who cannot afford them. 

AA president Edmund King said: 'We need to encourage the uptake of cleaner, greener vehicles.'

And the RAC's Nicholas Lyes added: 'These proposals would create massive financial challenges for individuals, families and businesses who run a car in London.'  

Conservative politicians also rounded on the mayor, with Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington, saying: 'A daily driving charge, extending ULEZ across Greater London, or a boundary charge will raid people's pockets when many can least afford it.

'Instead of planning another cash grab, Sadiq Khan should cut TfL's waste and look at creative ways to raise money like Tube sponsorship.'

Tony Devenish, Conservative London Assembly member for Hammersmith & Fulham, added: 'As one of my residents said to me today, 'London is becoming like Moscow under @SadiqKhan. Soon only the rich will be able to drive. Older people, families with children and many disabled people will be trapped at home'.'    

Traffic builds up on the A102 Blackwall Tunnel road approach during rush hour in Greenwich, south east London, in November © Provided by Daily Mail Traffic builds up on the A102 Blackwall Tunnel road approach during rush hour in Greenwich, south east London, in November

The Mayor and Transport for London will conduct a public consultation on the proposals.

Mr Khan said he is 'not willing to stand by and wait when there's more we can do in London that could make a big difference'.

He went on: 'We have too often seen measures to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency delayed around the world because it's viewed as being too hard or politically inconvenient, but I'm not willing to put off action we have the ability to implement here in London.'

Consultancy Element Energy was commissioned by the mayor to set out scenarios for cutting London's carbon emissions to net zero.

The most ambitious scenario, Mr Khan's preferred option, could require £75 billion investment between now and 2030 in infrastructure, and more beyond, from public and private sources, according to the mayor.

Hitting the target will require 2.2 million heat pumps in operation by the end of the decade, more solar panels on roofs, and bringing in heat networks for heating homes.

Mr Khan has warned he does not have the funding or powers to deliver everything required, and wants the Government to provide greater support.     

Signs indicating Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on a street in London. Research commissioned by Mr Khan found that a 27 per cent reduction in London's car traffic is required by 2030 to meet net-zero ambitions © Provided by Daily Mail Signs indicating Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) on a street in London. Research commissioned by Mr Khan found that a 27 per cent reduction in London's car traffic is required by 2030 to meet net-zero ambitions Read more
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