London mayor’s ‘bold’ road charging plans win plaudits

 

Council directors, campaigners and motoring groups have praised London mayor Sadiq Khan’s draft transport strategy, which includes a single per mile charging system for the capital’s road users.

Immediate past president of council directors’ body ADEPT Rupert Clubb said the document ‘offers a bold vision for the future of transport provision, as one that chimes with ADEPT members facing the same issues across the country’.

He said: ‘Sadiq Khan has recognised how reshaping our transport systems can make a postive contribution to our communities, our economy and our environment.

‘By pulling charges into one system and setting out clear ambitions for zero emissions by 2020, cutting daily car journeys by three million and aiming for 80% of Londoners’ trips to be on foot, cycle or public transport by 2041, he is providing a direction that is not coming from Government.’

RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: ‘The mayor has put forward a bold vision for changing the way residents, businesses and visitors to London will move around in the future – and it needs to be bold given the toxic combination of congestion and air quality that currently blights many parts of the capital. Efforts to tackle one must go hand in hand with tackling the other.

‘The mayor is particularly brave to raise the idea of road pricing. This was mooted some years ago on a national scale and quickly dropped as it was seen as a way to charge drivers on top of what they already pay in motoring-related taxation, something the mayor would need to try to avoid if it is to work in the capital.’

Mr Lyes said road pricing would require the fitting of ‘black-box’ technology into every vehicle, which may work for people living in and around Greater London, but might be more problematic for occasional visitors.

Bridget Fox of the Campaign for Better Transport said: ‘We praise the mayor and TfL for embracing the need for road pricing to reduce traffic across London which is fairer on all road users and will be a real improvement on the current Congestion Charge.

‘The journeys that cause the most congestion can be targeted to help reduce London’s lethal air pollution: the money raised must be invested in improving public transport for the benefit of everyone, not new roads, making London a truly liveable city.’

James Thornton, CEO of environmental group ClientEarth, said: ‘The mayor is showing much-needed ambition by putting London on the path to a zero emissions transport network. But we believe this can and must be delivered much sooner than 2050.

He added: ‘The mayor is showing up the UK Government, whose recent feeble and flawed consultation on its draft Air Quality Plan had none of this type of vision and certainly no action. But he needs to go further for the health of all Londoners.’

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