Monday, March 17, 2008

Mayor and TfL Prepared to Fight Porsche in Courts

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone and Transport for London (TfL) rejected a demand by luxury and sports car manufacturer Porsche to scrap plans for a higher £25 Congestion Charge for the very highest CO2 emitting cars, including many of the so-called Chelsea Tractors, the most powerful sports cars and some luxury executive cars, as part of the capital's plans to tackle climate change and cut congestion.

Ken Livingstone said: "Porsche have a clear vested interest in attempting to block this ground breaking scheme, against the interests of Londoners as a whole. They should focus their attentions on cutting CO2 emissions from the cars they produce, rather than pursuing this pointless legal action which we will vigorously contest. We have already seen several motor manufacturers rise to the challenge of cutting CO2 emissions from their cars and Porsche should join them.

Michèle Dix, Managing Director of Planning, TfL, said: "The Congestion Charge scheme has been a success at cutting congestion and traffic, with around 70,000 less vehicles a day entering the original central zone. Without it congestion in central London would be far worse.

"The principal aim of the scheme remains tackling congestion. The aim of the CO2 Charge element and discount of the scheme is to cut CO2 emissions by reducing the number of very high emitting cars driving in central London, influencing people's car purchasing choices and by stimulating the market for low emissions cars.

"At the moment, 17 per cent of cars driving in the charge zone are in Band G, while just 2 per cent are in Band's A and B. We expect to see the number of Band G cars cut significantly over time."

Specifically setting out to Porsche why their objections are unfounded, the Mayor and TfL made clear that:

· The CO2 Charge is about reducing CO2 emissions from cars driving in central London, whilst reducing congestion, as part of the Mayor's Transport Strategy and Climate Change Action Plan; and

· It is quite clear motorists have the choice not to drive a high CO2 emitting, car in central London, given the wide range of lower emitting cars available. Along with the higher £25 Charge for the cars emitting the most CO2, there will be a 100% discount for the least emitting.