Monday, September 10, 2007

Congestion Charge Zones Go International

It seems to be a sign of the times, and a sensible way to reduce pollution in our crowded cities.

For all of the harrumph we hear from the Conservatives in the UK over the Congestion Charge, the idea is spreading like wildfire across the planet. Maybe the Tories are just a bit behind the times?

Already there is a charging zone set up in Singapore, Toronto, and the state of Oregon, and recently in Stockholm, Sweden. Proposals are also under way in Manhattan, New York, San Francisco, California, Seattle, Washington, Milan, Italy, and Budapest, Turkey by 2010.

In Spain they are planning to charge SUVs that emit more than 200gm/km CO2.

And of course, in London, the new proposal under consultation is to change the C Charge so that it's better reflective of the amount a car pollutes. Vehicles falling in VED bands A & B would be exempt from the charge, bands C-F would be charged the normal daily rate of £8, and band G luxury vehicles would be charged £25 a day.

Readers can enter their responses online before 19 October.

What's the general feeling? The cars that pollute most will bear the greatest cost. So if anyone is thinking of buying a huge fat gas-guzzler for their European holidays, you might want to think again.