London mayor Ken Livingstone has asked Transport for London (TfL), which runs the London congestion charge scheme, to produce proposals to amend the scheme so that it discourages the use of cars producing high levels of carbon emissions.
The changes would involve discounts for cars with low CO2 emissions and substantially higher charges for cars with high emissions.
“Chelsea tractors, many of which are responsible for some of the highest CO2 emissions of any cars on our roads, have to be dealt with,” said Livingstone. “I want TfL to look at lower congestion charges for cars responsible for lower than average CO2 emissions, broadly the retention of the current rate of £8 for most cars, and much steeper charges of perhaps £25 for the really environmentally damaging cars such as the so-called ‘Chelsea tractors’.”
Once again the high emissions of London taxis seem to be being ignored, as are those of buses: there are only six hybrid buses in London out of a total of around 8000.
A move to a pollution charge would, however, make the charging more logical: currently a Toyota Prius that causes just as much congestion as a non-hybrid car is exempt from payment.
Livingstone last year approved an extension to the current congestion charging zone, despite evidence that it would have little effect and overwhelming opposition from local people and businesses.