Gas guzzlers face higher London chargeMost polluting vehicles could pay three times more

09 August 2007

Gas-guzzling vehicles such as 4x4s and high-powered sports cars could soon be paying up to £25 a day to drive in the London congestion charging zone, it has been revealed.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone said that Transport for London (TfL) would start a consultation on Friday into higher charges for vehicles ‘that make the biggest contribution to global warming’.

Not only could the owners of 4x4s - dubbed ‘Chelsea tractors’ - pay more than three times the current £8 a day congestion charge, but they could also lose their entitlement to the residents' discount.

The congestion zone, recently extended into west London, covers parts of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea.

Climate change

Cars driving outside the present congestion charging zone will not be affected, and the highest carbon dioxide-emitting vehicles represent only 8 per cent of cars registered in London.

The great majority of drivers within the zone would be unaffected and the least polluting vehicles will receive a 100 per cent discount and not pay any congestion charge at all.

Mr Livingstone said: ‘Londoners are becoming increasingly aware of the need to tackle climate change and this summer's floods were a reminder of the urgency with which we need to reduce CO2 emissions.

‘The highest CO2 emitting cars - like some of the so-called Chelsea tractors, high-powered sports cars and luxury executive cars - can produce twice as much carbon dioxide emissions as the kind of car driven by the average Londoner.

‘By proposing these changes to the congestion charging scheme, we are encouraging people to take into account the impact on the environment of their choice of car.’

'Chelsea tractors'

Under the proposals, the vehicles that could pay £25 a day would be those in vehicle excise duty (VED) Band G and equivalent vehicles (above 225g of CO2 per kilometre), as well as those registered pre-March 2001 with engines larger than 3,000cc.

The consultation will end on October 19.

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