Sunday, 19 December 2010

London Mayor's Air Quality Strategy includes more road charging

London Mayor Boris Johnson has released his Air Quality Strategy (full version here, executive summary here), and it includes a wide range of policy measures for transport and other sectors.  However, for this blog the key interest is in the references to road pricing.   

These are:
- Maintenance of the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) (which imposes a requirement that all vehicles within Greater London over 3.5 tonnes  must be Euro 3 standard or above, or face a £200 a day charge), with it being extended to larger vans, minibuses and motor caravans over 1.2 tonnes from January 2012;
- Continuation of the central London Congestion Charging zone;
- More road charging as a last resort "the Mayor may consider road user charging schemes if other measures at his disposal are deemed insufficient to meet his overall transport goals and where there is a reasonable balance between the objectives of any scheme and its costs and other impacts."
- Tightening the Low Emission Zone to a Euro 4 standard for PM for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes by 2012 (and consider one for NOx from 2015);
- Consider a Low Emission Zone for central London, contiguous with the congestion charge zone with even tougher standards.

In short, existing measures are being maintained and the key change will be tightening of the LEZ, with a potential very high standard central LEZ.   Beyond the existing congestion charge, little more is being said other than the options remain open to undertake more road charging if other measures are inadequate.   What this really means is that the political environment to expand congestion charging simply does not exist in London at the moment, but there is official recognition of the potential for it to do more.

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