Sadiq Khan hatches plan to charge London drivers per mile
April 11, 2023 12:38 PM
Sadiq Khan has once again raised the idea of introducing a 'pay-as-you-drive' scheme into London - with motorists charged depending on the time of day, how many passengers are in their car and how far they drive.
The Mayor is already facing a major backlash from motorists over his decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone into outer boroughs, forcing thousands more Londoners to pay £12.50 a day from August to drive cars that do not meet minimum standards, MailOnline reported.
And he risked further ire today by detailing his hopes for an even more controversial initiative to charge all drivers based on a detailed analysis of every individual journey.
'Road use charging is interesting,' he told the Financial Times. 'If you get rid of the congestion charge, get rid of Ulez, get rid of road tax, and charge people depending on how many miles they drive, how polluting their vehicle is, what time of day they're driving, are there alternatives related to public transport, how many people are in the car, that's potentially quite exciting.
'The problem is the technology's quite a long way off.'
In the interview, Mr Khan also insisted the expansion of Ulez from August 'isn't a big thing on most people's mind' - despite a series of protests against the measure and fury from MPs, including some from within Labour, his own party.
'It's a big thing on a small number of people's minds,' he said. 'In outer London, 85 per cent of vehicles are compliant and half of Londoners don't even have a car.'
The Mayor last touched on the topic of per-mile charging in February, when he revealed to the London Assembly that Ulez cameras could be used to enforce the measure.
He told Assembly members: 'ANPR cameras could form part of the potential operation of such a scheme but no proposals have been developed.'
As part of the Ulez expansion, TfL is planning to erect around 2,750 additional cameras - with 300 already installed across some boroughs.
Mr Khan has previously revealed he wants to impose a network of 'Singapore-style' toll roads throughout London as part of efforts to improve the capital's air quality.
He said the 'nearest comparator' for his road user charging plans was Singapore, which has 'electronic road pricing' which uses sensors attached to gantries over main roads to capture number plates.
These sensors track at what time drivers are using certain roads and charges them a toll based on these factors - for example, rush-hour traffic on a busy road being more expensive.
But this change is not currently possible in London as 'the technology is not there'.
However, cameras introduced as part of the Ulez expansion could be used to monitor the distances drivers travel, where they are travelling and the level of emissions their vehicles emit - with fears drivers may be charged by the mile.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “Transport for London has outlined how one future option could be to abolish existing charges and replace them with a single simpler road user charging scheme which could take into account factors such as local public transport availability, employment and income, but the technology required is still many years away and the Mayor has been clear that there are no proposals on the table for such a scheme.”
Mr Khan has come under increasing pressure to scrap plans to expand the Ulez on August 29.
Last month, he said 'anti-vaxxers, Covid deniers, conspiracy theorists and Nazis' had joined 'decent Tories' in opposing extending the Ulez across the capital.
At a People's Question Time in Ealing, he said: 'Let's be frank. Some of those outside are part of the far-Right. Some are Covid deniers. Some are vaccine-deniers. And some are Tories.'
This led to outcries from angry members of the audience who said: 'We are not the far-Right – normal people are not the far-Right.'
Conservative Party chairman Greg Hands said the comments were reason enough for him to be voted out at the next election.
He said: 'These are awful comments from the London Mayor, smearing anti-Ulez voices like this. I am not surprised the audience in Ealing pushed back. We need to vote Mayor Khan out next May.'
The comments came amid concerns that LTN schemes in the capital had resulted in 240 ambulances being delayed from reaching potentially life-threatening callouts since 2020.