Boris Johnson will today confirm the scrapping of the £25 CO2 Charge proposed by predecessor Ken Livingstone which would have seen higher polluting cars pay a higher charge for driving into London.
Abolishing the new charge was a key Johnson manifesto commitment and was also demanded by luxury car manufacturer Porsche.
In February Porsche GB managing director Andy Goss claimed “thousands of car owners will be hit by a disproportionate tax which clearly will have a very limited effect on CO2 emissions”. That same month the company announced plans to seek a judicial review of the policy which they claimed “looks more like a political stunt than considered action.”
Porsche’s intervention was opposed by anti-4×4 campaigners who launched a petition asking Londoners to back the scheme.
Johnson’s decision to scrap it means the company is entitled to seek reimbursement for legal costs of £400,000 however Porsche has agreed to donate these to Skidz, a charity providing young people with mechanical skills and training.
In a statement issued last night Mayor Johnson said he was “delighted that we have been able to scrap the £25 charge, which would have hit families and small businesses hardest. I believe the proposal would actually have made congestion worse by allowing thousands of small cars in for free.”
The Mayor also thanked Porsche for donating their legal costs commenting “I am very pleased to hear that rather than adding to their own coffers, Porsche have decided to use the costs we are now required to provide them with to support Skidz. That is a generous decision and I am delighted that Skidz will use the money to offer training for young people in the capital.”
City Hall say that by abandoning the scheme they’ll save approximately £10 million however Mr Livingstone last night branded this claim “entirely false” and said abolishing the charge means “London will lose £30-£60m expected annual revenue from the scheme.”
Green Party Assembly Member Darren Johnson said the decision abolish the charge “undermines any claim the Mayor had to be serious about climate change in London.” Mr Johnson also condemned his namesake for “rushing into scrapping this policy without offering any real alternative to encourage people to switch to smaller cars”.
Commenting that “incompetence, chaos and resignations have dominated Boris Johnson’s first few weeks as Mayor” Ken Livingstone said today’s announcement “drives home that another main theme of the Tories’ short tenure in London has been to ditch much of the progressive environmental agenda implemented in the previous eight years.”
“The abandonment of the £25 a day CO2 charge, which would have discouraged ultra-high polluting cars from driving in central London, follows hot on the heels of Johnson consulting on halving the size of the congestion charging zone and considering reducing its hours of operation, caving in to Thames Water’s demands for an unnecessary and energy-hungry desalination plant, and scrapping twice yearly emissions tests for taxis.”
Mr Livingstone warned that the decision was “a further blow” to the reputation of London as a city prepared to take “groundbreaking” action to tackle climate change.”
An IPSOS-MORI poll carried out for Transport for London in March suggested 61% of Londoners backed the planned new charge.
Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said TfL would “strive to cut CO2 emissions from transport in London by promoting cycling and walking, encouraging people to drive in a more efficient way and by cutting Transport for London’s own CO2 emissions.”
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Poll: 61pc Back £25 C-Charge