Mayor of London seeks to cut car trips to boost net zero

Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, is considering radical new policies to reduce air pollution and meet climate goals, including scaling low emission zone of the city for the vehicle or charge the road to pay as you drive.

The policy options revealed on Tuesday are part of an effort to cut London car journeys by 27% to help the city reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

Khan said his mission is to “motivate” motorists to move away from all petrol and diesel vehicles, and to switch to electric cars, public transport, walking or cycling.

He asked Transport for London, the capital’s transport regulator, to study the viability of some of the options offered by consultants Element Energy.

One is an important Expansion of ultra-low emission zone, or Ulez, including all of Greater London, the area Khan oversees, in May 2024.

Drivers of older and more polluting vehicles must pay a daily fee of £12.50 to drive into the current zone, which was expanded in October from a small core of inner London to include covers an area of ​​380 square kilometers inside the north and south circular roads. .

Greater London, 32 boroughs, and the City of London, are more than four times this size. It has a population of about 9m.

Another option in the report is a “small” daily charge across Greater London for “all but the cleanest vehicles”, as a standalone measure or in conjunction with expand Ulez.

While the exact definition of a clean car is decided by TfL, Khan predicts it will exclude any petrol or diesel cars.

The report also proposes a new fee for all unregistered vehicles in London running into the city, a topic that has been discussed with the central government as part of separate negotiations on TfL’s pandemic finances.

Any of the options will leave London with some of the most ambition clean air policy of any global capital and welcomed by environmental groups.

But they are also potentially controversial. Some residents and businesses have complained they have struggled to afford upgrades to less polluting vehicles for the Ulez expansion late last year, despite a renovation plan to help with conversion.

Khan said he hoped the proposals would start a “conversation” with Londoners and politicians “simply wasting no time” on tackling pollution and climate change.

“Too often we have seen measures to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency delayed around the world because it is seen as too difficult or politically inconvenient, but I not willing to give up the action we are capable of taking in London,” said Khan.

The mayor said central government support will be needed to help the capital reach net zero by 2030 and cut toxic air.

Between 2000 and 2018, workplace and household greenhouse gas emissions in London fell by almost 60% and 40% respectively, but transport emissions fell by only 7%. The number of people traveling by car has returned to pre-pandemic levels, while the number of people taking public transport is still plummeting.

In the longer term, City Hall thinks London will need to switch to a pedestrian toll system, which would abolish all current road tolls and replace them with a system where drivers vehicle is charged by the mile.

The scheme will mark a shift in the way drivers are taxed and is still several years away from being ready as it will require new technology to measure road use. However, Khan asked TfL to start exploring how the system could be developed.

With the shift to electric vehicles, some transport policy experts expect road use tolls to become commonplace to help replace lost tax revenue from gasoline and diesel taxes.

Keith Prince, a member of the Conservative Council in London, said imposing “extra emissions taxes would be ludicrous” and Londoners should not accept the bill “against the climate emergency”. .

The road to net zero by 2030 will also require 210,000 homes and another 15,000 to be retrofitted each year to make them more energy efficient.

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