I wrote a blog back in October about the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and the furore it caused culminating in the Evening Standard headline “Londoners face a £1 a mile toll”.
That headline claim was quickly denied by Boris Johnson:
“There is absolutely no scheme in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to introduce road user charging in London.”
However various pricing incentives, including road charging policy were still optioned in the consultation as a means to manage travel demand if it could not be met through other policies:
“road user charging if other measures at the Mayor’s disposal are deemed insufficient to meet the strategy’s objectives.”
This statement, unsurprisingly, has left many drivers (and people who don’t drive) worried by the prospect of road pricing being rolled out across London roads. Not only would that be hugely expensive to implement, it would be another burden on motorists. With revenue from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and Fuel Duty over £30 billion, drivers pay £18.4 billion more than the combined cost of road transport greenhouse gas emissions and road spending. An additional stealth tax would mean motorists would be even more overtaxed in a system that already treats them like cash cows.
Despite the consultation being an ongoing process, the issue of London road pricing has received little media attention since and has slipped down the policy agenda. However the Association for British Drivers (ABD) are urging Londoners to have their say on the consultation paper, which contains some significant proposals for future London transport policy. The consultation ends tomorrow so there is still time!
Responses to the Mayor’s Transport Strategy can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent to PO Box 65064, London SE1P 5GE. Londoners should voice their opinion about a scheme that could cost ordinary drivers a fortune.