Plans to increase the London congestion charge to £25 for higher-emission cars have been scrapped following a legal challenge by Porsche.
At the same time, proposals to make ‘greener’ cars exempt from the £8-a-day charge have also bitten the dust.
The move towards a £25 charge for the most polluting cars prompted Porsche to launch a judicial review against former mayor Ken Livingstone in February.
The German carmaker says that it has now won its fight after the case was heard in the Administrative Court, which is part of the High Court.
It added that it had been awarded legal costs – expected to amount to a six-figure sum – which it will donate to youth charity Skidz.
New mayor Boris Johnson issued a statement saying he was ‘delighted’ to be able to scrap the charge.
The plans to increase charges for vehicles with the highest carbon dioxide emissions were due to come into force on 27 October.
The £25 charge would have applied to vehicles emitting more than 225g of carbon dioxide per kilometre, as well as those registered before March 2001 with engines larger than 3,000cc.
Of cars currently being driven in the congestion charging zone, 17% would have been liable for the £25 charge.
Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed that the mayor is also scrapping Ken Livingstone’s proposed exemption for cars with CO2 emissions below 120g/km – also due to take effect from October.
All cars entering the zone will now remain liable for the regular £8-a-day charge, except ‘alternative fuel’ cars, such as hybrids, electric cars and those running on LPG.
‘Basically, the congestion charge will remain how it is currently,’ a TfL spokesman said.
Richard Headland, Which? motoring editor, said: ‘Many car buyers have been moving towards greener models with emissions below 120g/km – and if they drive in London, they will feel they’re losing out from the mayor’s decision.’
Oliver Rowe, environmental spokesman for Ford in the UK, told us: ‘This isn’t a huge surprise – it is designed as a congestion charge, and to make many vehicles exempt seemed to go against its aims.’
He added that cars with low emissions would still benefit buyers nationally, because they incurred cheaper road tax.