Carbon Charge to be Dropped?


The Times notes that:

Ken Livingstone is about to drop his plan to exempt low-emission cars from the London congestion charge... The Mayor of London had proposed to give free entry to the charging zone to all cars in road tax bands A and B, which cover those emitting 120g or less of carbon dioxide per km (g/km).

If this is the case, then the Mayor's policy is in a shambles. The article considers that the new charge may be dropped due to the popularity of low-emission cars. This charge has moved from being a congestion tax to a proposed carbon tax. Ken Livingstone has stated in the past that he favours a 'more carrot, less stick' approach in weaning people from the most polluting cars and onto public transport.

Damian Hockney, Leader for the One London party has written about the loaded questions that the Mayor's office asked in gaining public approval for the shift in emphasis towards carbon emissions here. This highlights a worrying trend in the Mayor's consultation strategy - ask a loaded question, get the answer you want. Simply, it is not good enough.

If it is true that the Mayor intends to drop the tax exemption because his initially stated aims were too successful, then we have at best an opportunistic money grab. At worst, this is a policy with no ideological roots which is likely to change again.

LondonUnlocked is in favour of a congestion charge which is rated for carbon emissions. This is the route that Ken Livingstone should take, and the one that would best serve London.