The car industry has hit out at London Mayor Ken Livingstone’s plans to base the congestion charge on carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, saying the proposal will neither reduce congestion nor significantly benefit the environment.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called for an extension to the consultation period because of the “complexity” of the scheme. Livingstone wants to more than treble the current £8 per day charge for vehicles with the highest emissions.
Transport for London (TfL) claims the plan will cut CO2 emissions by 8,100 tonnes, but the SMMT points out that the total “ground-based” transport emissions in London are 9.7 million tonnes, making the maximum benefit from the Mayor’s plans a CO2 reduction of just 0.084%.
The SMMT says that, by comparison, improvements at UK car and commercial vehicle sites have cut CO2 from 2.14 million tonnes to 1.36 million tonnes – a saving of 36.5%. Average new-car CO2 emissions have also come down 12% in a decade, saving an estimated 1 million tonnes of CO2 each year in the UK.
SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan says: ” TfL must be absolutely clear about the scheme’s aims… and the charges to drivers must be proportionate.”