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London mulls extending car emissions fees across entire city

To help meet ambitious environmental targets by 2030.
Image: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

London mayor Sadiq Khan is considering a further expansion of charges for polluting vehicles across the whole city to help meet ambitious environmental targets by 2030.

Road use in the UK capital must be cut by at least 27% by the end of the decade to meet climate goals, a publication by Element Energy on behalf of the mayor said Tuesday. More action is therefore required, it said.

Options include extending the so-called ultra-low emission zone, which was already broadened in October, to cover Greater London and charging drivers of all but the cleanest vehicles. Another idea could see a fee levied on non-London registered travelers to the city.

The proposals would bring in much-needed revenue for Transport for London following the plunge in demand for public transport during the coronavirus pandemic. A temporary funding settlement with the government expires on February 4 and Khan has been seeking alternative sources of cash.

The planned expansion would see more drivers have to pay the levy than under the current system, which only charges owners of pre-2005 petrol cars and pre-2015 diesel vehicles. This is likely to stoke controversy, with many motorists and businesses likely to oppose the plans.

The Mayor and TfL will begin a period of consultation with Londoners, local government and businesses on the proposed changes. The chosen plan would be implemented by May 2024.

Khan also wants London to move toward smart charging, which would eventually see charges like the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone and Congestion Charge scrapped and a single fee levied on motorists based on their vehicle and where in London they are driving. Transport for London will begin exploring how to develop such a scheme but the technology is still years away from being ready, the statement said.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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