Sadiq Khan accused of ‘backing down’ as he promises ‘never’ to introduce pay-per-mile

By Staff

Sadiq Khan has been accused of backing down over the prospect of a pay-per-mile scheme for drivers in London. Green Party London Assembly Member, Caroline Russell, told media at City Hall on Monday (May 13) that the newly re-elected Mayor of London had ‘allowed a divisive…war on the motorist to shape his policy’.

She also argued that a pay-per-mile, a concept that would charge drivers depending on where and when they drove in the capital, would involve ‘tiny fees’ for drivers rather than a ‘big chunky’ £12.50. This, AM Russell claimed, would be ‘much fairer’.

Mr Khan promised during the London mayoral election campaign that he would ‘never’ introduce such a scheme. He has told MyLondon multiple times that it is ‘off the table’ as long as he remains at City Hall.

READ MORE: Orpington locals ‘missing out’ on Superloop 2 say they ‘want the Tube instead’

This is despite the mayor telling MyLondon in March, 2023: “The ultimate destination is a smart road user charging scheme in London. We’ve been looking around the world about what sort of schemes they have.

“The best one, and it’s a compliment, is Singapore, but it’s not quite what we’re after. What we want is a scheme that can treat each driver differently in relation to time you’re driving, distance you’re driving and if there are good alternatives with public transport and how polluting your vehicle is.”

AM Russell described the project as ‘one of the most powerful tools’ that Mr Khan has to ‘reduce transport carbon’. “He’s just ruling it out completely,” she added. “He’s allowed the divisive…war-on-the-motorist piece to shape his policy, and to limit him in terms of what he can do.”

‘A cowardly decision’

Zack Polanski AM, the Greens’ national deputy leader, said: “So it just seems like a cowardly decision […] Why let Susan Hall and the Conservatives dictate your policy, when he would have won anyway?” He also called a green suit that the mayor recently donned for his swearing in ceremony ‘superficial’.

A spokesperson for the mayor told the Evening Standard: “The mayor’s re-election shows he has the mandate for ambitious green policies and he is determined to achieve his mission to make London a net-zero carbon city by 2030, while strengthening alternatives to private car use to reduce congestion.

“His track record speaks for itself, with 48,000 fewer vehicles seen driving on an average since the London-wide ULEZ was implemented, and a reduction of 800,000 tonnes of CO2 over the past four years”.

They added that Mr Khan is ‘the greenest mayor ever’, highlighting his recent manifesto pledges of fully electrifying the capital’s bus fleet by 2030, putting air pollution filters, heat pumps and solar panels in schools, boosting bike parking spaces and electric vehicle charging points and planting more trees. In addition, they pointed to his recent freezing of TfL fares, his creation of the Superloop network of express bus services in outer London, and his quadrupling of the number of cycleways since 2016.

They added: “The mayor only has powers to address less than half of London’s emissions. This is why Sadiq has urgently called for more funding and powers for City Hall to help bolster our green plans as we build a greener, more prosperous London for everyone.”

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