Wed Nov 15th, 2006 at 07:56:09 AM EST
It looks like London Mayor Ken Livingstone is about to make himself very unpopular with the rich and feckless. Plans were announced today to raise the London congestion charge to £25 for 4X4s and other high-end cars with high-end emissions. Budget cars with low emissions will have the charge waived. The charge area itself is being extended early next year to include more of West London, including some poorer areas, and also a section of the Westway, which is the main access road to central and northern London from the West.
From the diaries - whataboutbob
The exemptions aren't quite as useful as they sound, because there are barely any cars on sale in the UK that fall into the lowest A & B emissions bands. But anyone who owns one - or more than one - will now be able to drive across London for nothing. The most common C, D, E and F bands will continue to pay the current £8 charge.
More impressively, for those of us who don't own Chelsea Tractors and find them annoying, the 90% resident exemption will end for band G high emission vehicles. This means anyone in the congestion charge area who owns a 4X4 will be paying £25 a day to keep it outside their front door - around £6,500 a year. (There's no charge at weekends.)
As Ken says:
"Those who buy them can afford to choose from pretty much the whole of the mainstream car market but have chosen to buy one of the most polluting vehicles.
"By making these changes to the congestion charging scheme we are encouraging people to take into account the impact of their choice of new car on the environment and the planet."
Expect squeals of pain from owners of top line Porsches, Jaguars, BMWs and Range Rovers.
Everyone else will now be thinking about putting a downpayment on that Smart car or hybrid they've always wanted.
The bad news? The charges won't start until 2009. The next Mayoral election is in 2008. Ken has now made himself a lot of enemies, and given them an incentive to promote a more conservative and corporate-friendly candidate.
With the campaign for the elections just starting, it's going to be interesting to see just how close this plan gets to being implemented.