Sadiq Khan considers 'single unified' road charging scheme for London


London mayor Sadiq Khan is considering introducing a single per mile charging system for all London’s drivers as part of plans for the future of transport in the capital.

The mayor has pledged to make the entire London transport system zero emission by 2050 and is considering replacing the congestion charge and all other charges with an integrated per mile road charge to create a ‘single, unified scheme’.

London mayor Sadiq Khan

More ‘car-free days’ in central London, town centres and high streets are also on the cards, as is a roll-out of ‘vehicle-free zones’ and the introduction of ‘filtered permeability’ - where certain traffic is physically prevented from using specific streets.

The plans are key planks of the London mayor’s draft transport strategy, which was released today and sets out a bold vision with environmental, congestion and sustainability concerns front and centre.

The mayor argues that car parking should also be reduced ‘with car-free development becoming the starting point for all development in well-served places’.

Transport for London aims to cut daily car journeys by three million and aims for 80% of Londoners’ trips to be on foot, by cycle or by using public transport by 2041.

Central to the strategy is the argument that ‘a shift from car use to these more space-efficient means of travel also provides the only long-term solution to the congestion challenges that threaten London’s status as an efficient, well-functioning city’.

Mr Khan, said: ‘We simply cannot afford to take the same old approach to travel as our growing population puts increasing pressure on our network.

‘Only by focusing on active travel, providing efficient zero-emission transport and reducing our dependency on cars, can we improve the health of Londoners, support economic growth, deliver homes and jobs, and make our city an even better place to live.’

The strategy states: ‘In the longer term, a different model for the way Londoners pay for their roads may be needed in order to meet the target of an 80% sustainable mode share.’

It argues that the world has moved on from the camera-based congestion charge set up.

‘In a rapidly changing technological context, it is worth considering whether road use should be paid for in a way that better accounts for the impact and context of individual journeys.

‘This would mean that some journeys would cost more (at busier times of day or in more congested areas or in more polluting vehicles), while others would cost less (shorter journeys in low-emission vehicles in quieter areas outside peak hours).

‘An integrated ‘per mile’ charge could replace pre-existing schemes (Congestion Charge, Low Emission Zone, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), Silvertown charge) with a single, unified scheme which takes into account both congestion and emissions objectives.'

The mayor also aims for all taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) to be zero emission capable by 2033, for all buses to be zero emission by 2037, for all new road vehicles driven in London to be zero emission by 2040, and for London’s entire transport system to be zero emission by 2050.

The consultation on the plans run until 2 October.

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