Congestion Charge plans could increase traffic and pollution
TfL’s plans to impose the Congestion Charge on private hire vehicles could make London more congested and polluted, an independent study suggests.
The proposals were announced earlier this year and would see the introduction of a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount to replace the current Ultra-Low Emission discount from 2021 as an interim measure before the Zero Emission Zone. Only pure electric vehicles would qualify for the discount; not hybrids or PHVs.
The plans have already caused conjecture, with the London Assembly saying that minicab fares could rise by 16%, as operators would have to cover the cost of paying the Congestion Charge.
Now, latest research from Oxera Consulting indicates the plans could worsen jams around the edge of the zone as drivers turn to different routes. The research, published by Addison Lee, also suggests that passengers, faced with higher PHV fares, would be likely to shift to the city’s older black taxi fleet, which remain exempt from the charge under TfL’s plans, but are said to emit twice as much nitrogen oxide and three times as much particulate pollution as PHVs.
Andy Boland, chief executive, Addison Lee Group, said: “Addison Lee is fully on board with TfL’s objectives of tackling congestion and improving air quality in London, and are investing £60m to meet the existing ultra-low emission zone policy. However, independent analysis suggests that far from helping to meet these objectives, imposing the congestion charge on private hire vehicles would make matters worse. We believe our proposed policy of focusing on ULEZ and closing its loopholes, a small increase in the overall charge and a proper rapid charging network would be fairer, simpler and more effective.”
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