Wednesday, February 13, 2008


The Alliance Against Urban 4x4s is celebrating victory today after Mayor Ken Livingstone confirmed a scheme to levy a higher congestion charge on gas-guzzling cars in London.

The Mayor outlined the results of a three-month public consultation in late 2007. The new emissions-based Congestion Charge will create a sliding scale of charges for cars emitting higher and lower levels of carbon dioxide emissions.

Cleaner cars in VED tax bands A and B will receive a 100% discount on the current rate of £8, and cars in the highest-emitting band G will pay a higher rate of £25 per day.

The announcement follows a determined campaign by our Alliance. We produced a detailed report in 2006 proposing the scheme. The Alliance's report set out how the sliding payments could be implemented in response to TfL's dismissal of the idea of an emissions-related charge in 2004.

We're delighted with the level of public support for the emissions-based charge – this is key policy we have called for since we began our campaign. We look forward to seeing these measures finally doing something positive to reduce dirty, wasteful, unnecessarily large 4x4s and other highly polluting cars from our streets.

There is simply no need for these vehicles in our cities and the evidence shows that financial penalties, like a £25 congestion charge, will make a real difference to shifting consumers to use public transport more or to drive a less polluting car. Our report to the Mayor demonstrated that a higher charge could deter up to 40% of 4x4s [and other Band G cars] from coming into central London.

We know from the enormous amount of support for our campaign, and from our own surveys, that charging the most polluting cars a higher congestion charge will be very popular with the public. When we started campaigning for this measure in 2005, we asked 5,400 shoppers in central London their opinion and 95 percent agreed with the idea. This level of support has been mirrored in similar surveys.

Naturally, we are delighted with today's announcement. Not only have we changed the image of 4x4s and made them less popular and less acceptable for city driving, we have now achieved this concrete measure that we hope will work to reduce the number of dangerous, polluting cars in our city and set an example to cities everywhere.

This measure also sends a strong message to those manufacturers who are currently failing to clean up their vehicle fleets. They are perfectly able to make cars in every class, including 4x4s, that don't create the excessive amounts of emissions of band G cars, yet that is where they profit the most. With this new Congestion Charge helping to change people's buying habits, the pressure is now on manufacturers to produce and advertise cleaner cars for their UK customers.