London Mayor to explore pay-per-mile road pricing
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is to look at measures including road pricing, a workplace parking levy scheme and a zero-emission zone in central London in a move to drive down car use and ensure London’s entire transport system is zero emission by 2050.
The mayor’s newly published draft Transport Strategy – which is now out for consultation until 2 October – sets out a target to reduce total London traffic by 10-15% by 2041, cutting travel by three million car journeys a day to “free up space for essential freight and business trips”.
This includes building on the forthcoming introduction of the Ultra Low Emission Zone and the T-charge by looking at latest forms of road user charging, including a pay-per-mile charge to address both congestion and emissions objectives.
The mayor will also look to introduce a workplace parking levy scheme and restrict car parking provision within new developments.
Mr Khan said: “We have to make not using your car the affordable, safest and most convenient option for Londoners going about their daily lives. This is not only essential for dealing with congestion as London grows, but crucial for reducing our toxic air pollution, and improving the health of all Londoners.”
Key elements of the drive to improve air quality would also see a zero emission zone in central London by 2040 and a London-wide zone by 2050 – with public sector fleets expected to stand at the forefront of the shift to ultra-low and zero emission technologies. By 2030, the plans say all public sector car fleet should be zero emission capable. The plans also account for taxis and PHVs, which would be required to be zero emission capable by 2033 with buses to be zero emission by 2037.
The plans would also target traffic reduction and road safety improvements through enhancements in public transport – including under the ‘Healthy Streets Approach’ – and targeting freight, including measures to reduce overall van and lorry use in central London in the morning peak by 10% by 2026. This would explore cutting down on or retiming van and lorry trips through better consolidation of freight and servicing activity, including with the use of regional consolidation and distribution centres at the edge of London and micro-distribution centres in inner and central London.
Other road safety measures could include introducing lower speed limits alongside stricter enforcement.
The plans also consider how to accommodate the growing rise of internet shopping, with plans to work with the largest employers in London to find ways of encouraging the re-direction of their staff’s personal deliveries to a network of ‘walk to’ collection points as well as the promotion of ‘click and collect’ services.
Meanwhile on a national scale, the plan calls for vehicle tax exemption for zero-emission vehicles now along with a diesel scrappage scheme in 2020 and taxation to encourage ULEVs over conventional vehicles. And by 2050, the plans say taxation should discourage ownership of non-zero-emission vehicles.
In response to the plans, RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said the mayor would need to counter previous opposition to road pricing on a national scale, which saw drivers react angrily to the idea of another motoring-related tax.
He added: “But in the longer term, road pricing may be a viable solution to replace the current London charging regime because of its ‘pay as you use’ philosophy – by its nature this is fairer than the flat rate fees drivers currently pay to enter the congestion charging zone, and future Ultra Low Emission Zone.”