Mayor lines up new Greater London driving charge

Mayor lines up new Greater London driving charge
The capital could be home to yet another charging zone, this time covering the whole of Greater London.

Under Sadiq Khan’s plans, motorists would have to pay £3.50 to enter outer boroughs unless Transport for London (TfL) is awarded more funding.

The Mayor has threatened to introduce the daily fee if the Government doesn’t allow TfL to keep the £500 million paid by Londoners each year in vehicle excise duty (VED).

Khan wants the cash to be invested in the capital’s transport network rather than added to central funds.

He said: “If ministers aren’t prepared to play fair, then we will need to consider other options to address this unfairness, such as asking people who live outside London and make journeys into Greater London by car to pay a modest charge, which would be reinvested in London’s transport network.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Vehicle excise duty receipts are currently spent on improving the strategic road network across the country so if TfL was to be allocated a share of these, London drivers would rightly expect the money to be put towards improving the capital’s main arterial roads.”

He added: “The Mayor already has income from both the Congestion Charge and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, so levying yet another charge on drivers entering a wider part of London would feel like more like a money-grab, which would be particularly punitive for tradespeople, small businesses and care workers.”

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The new Greater London Boundary Charge could charge the most polluting cars more money and would take at least two years to be introduced.

A spokesman for the mayor said he has “broad powers” to launch such schemes to achieve his transport strategy.

TfL officials are currently investigating the feasibility of the project after requiring a £1.8 billion Government bail-out in November to keep services running until March 2021.

Khan believes the charge would help manage congestion in the capital and encourage people to use more sustainable modes of transport

Some 1.3 million vehicle trips are made from outside London into the city on weekdays, according to the mayor’s office, which claimed this shows many drivers “greatly benefit from using the capital’s roads without contributing to their upkeep”.

A Government spokesman said: “This Government has repeatedly demonstrated its commitment to supporting London’s transport network with more than £3 billion in emergency funding support arrangements and the recent announcement of a further £825 million loan for Crossrail.

“But we have always been clear that this support must be fair to UK taxpayers, which is why we look forward to receiving TfL’s comprehensive management plan for achieving financial sustainability as soon as possible.”

Would you be heavily impacted by this charge? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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