Car tax changes: Londoners could be paid to cycle rather than drive under ULEZ plans


Simon Birkett, the founder of Clean Air in London told the London Assembly this week that the ever-expanding Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London should be replaced faster than suggested and described an alternative in which people would be rewarded for choosing to walk or cycle rather than drive cars.

Mr Birkett said the current ULEZ, Congestion Charge and Low Emissions Zone systems are “really quite primitive” for charging someone for travelling “100 yards into a zone,” reported MyLondon.

Mr Birkett said he had drawn up a plan for a new “smart” road-user charging system with Boris Johnson’s former deputy mayor for transport, Isabel Dedring.

He added: “We designed emissions-based road charging over a cup of tea one afternoon.

“It would have four elements for vehicles to pay different amounts depending on the time of day, where they are, and the quality and quantity of the fuel they burn.”

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Last month Sadiq Khan spoke about his desire to introduce a daily charge of around £3.50 to anyone driving in or out of London.

Mr Khan said: “Whilst we have made huge strides in increasing walking and cycling in London throughout the pandemic, car use has remained consistently high.

“The cost to both Londoners and the capital [should not] be underestimated, with days wasted stuck in traffic, billions lost to the economy and increased road danger and health impacts.

“Most traffic is caused simply by there being too great a demand for limited street space, meaning the only long-term solution can be to significantly reduce car use in favour of greener means of travel.”

Nick Bowes, chief executive of the Centre for London think tank said the congestion charge was “world-leading when it was introduced”, but argued that it’s now “outdated and its effectiveness has diminished over time”.

He continued, saying: “The Mayor needs to be bold and introduce a simpler, smarter and fairer system of road user charging that replaces both the congestion charge and the ultra-low emission zone.

“Such a scheme would tackle congestion, improve air quality and promote travel by public transport, walking and cycling, by charging drivers by the mile

“It could also play a key role in filling the hole in Transport for London’s budget.”


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