London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has requested that Transport for London (TfL) look into using Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) cameras to charge drivers under a “pay-as-you-drive” scheme.
The Mayor’s expansion of Ulez has been met with continued criticism and five councils are mounting legal challenges against it. The expansion, which will reach as far as Outer London from August, will force millions more Londoners to pay £12.50 a day in an effort to battle pollution in the capital.
Khan has previously asked Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to fund a scrappage scheme for the home counties, and has now confirmed that TfL is looking into developing a new scheme with “sophisticated technology” that could be used to charge road users.
While speaking at the London Assembly, Khan suggested that ANPR cameras could form part of the potential operation of such a scheme but confirmed that no proposals had been developed.
Around 2,750 new cameras will be installed as part of the Ulez expansion, which could be used to monitor the distances drivers travel, where they are travelling, and the level of emissions their vehicles emit – with fears that drivers may be charged by the mile.
However, Tory members of the London Assembly have seen these measures as an early indicator that Khan wants to implement road user charges, which he has previously advocated for.
Khan has suggested that Singapore-style toll roads could be introduced in London to tackle the city’s poor air quality, but has acknowledged that the technology is not currently available.
Khan’s expansion plans have been met with vocal rejection, with former London Mayor Boris Johnson urging people to stop Khan’s “mad expansion plan”.
However, Khan has responded by saying that he will take no lectures from Johnson, who he claims ignored the science and facts regarding pollution in the capital.
There have also been a number of protests against the proposals, but the Mayor has shut those down for being “far right”. Leader of the City Hall Conservatives, Susan Hall, has described these comments as a “new low” for Khan.