12 February 2008
Campaign for Better Transport applauds the new emissions-related congestion charges announced today. London’s reputation as a pioneer of progressive transport will be further enhanced by the introduction of a congestion charge related to a vehicle’s climate change emissions. Under the new scheme cars which use the most fuel, including many 4x4s, will have to pay £25 a day to drive in central London and will not be eligible for a resident’s discount as they are at present.
“This will send a strong signal that driving around in cars that do only 15 miles to the gallon is unacceptable in the face of global warming,” said Richard Bourn, Better Transport’s London campaigner.
The national campaign group has misgivings about the 100% discount which is also proposed for the least polluting vehicles. “Whilst this gives people a strong incentive to buy more economical cars, there is a danger that the traffic reduction benefits of the original congestion charge will be eroded,” Richard Bourn continued.
Better Transport believes that when TfL reviews these changes next year it should be ready to reduce the discount for cars in groups A & B. It also needs to introduce traffic reduction measures to ensure that London meets EU air quality standards. At the moment, according to the Mayor, 1,000 Londoners a year die prematurely because of levels of air pollution – and these levels will hardly be affected by the new congestion charge.