It’s not a great time to be a car-driver in London. Between the increased congestion charge, the soon-to-be expanded ULEZ and the ever-sprawling network of LTNs across the capital, the city is really, really trying to discourage the use of private vehicles.
It is, however, a great time to be an environmentalist. A car-free future (or at least a future free from petrol and diesel cars) now looks increasingly more feasible, and a new campaign from the Centre for London think tank wants to take things to the next level.
Centre for London has called on TfL and London Mayor Sadiq Khan to introduce a pay-per-mile scheme for motorists. The think tank says that this would both tackle poor air quality in the capital and plug the gap in TfL’s finances.
Despite clean air initiatives such as the ULEZ and the congestion charge, air quality in London is still pretty grim. In response to a recent report from City Hall that revealed that BAME and lower-income Londoners bear the brunt of the capital’s poor air quality, Khan unveiled plans to install air quality sensors around the capital – but some worry that might not be enough.
Claire Harding, research director at Centre for London, said in a statement: ‘Transport for London should go further and adopt a pay-per-mile road user charging scheme which would deliver cleaner air, increase walking and cycling, and reduce congestion, as well as provide a substantial income stream to help plug TfL’s finances.’
Which sounds pretty persuasive, right? Of course, there aren’t exact details yet on how much the cost-per-mile should be, nor the size of the area that the scheme would cover, so it’s difficult to say exactly how effective it might be.
I’m sure we can all agree that our city would be a far healthier, better place with cleaner air – this could certainly be a great way to achieve it.
If the climate crisis gets much worse, we might have to move the UK capital out of London