London is also grappling with its pollution problem and is considering changes to its Congestion Charging scheme. Currently imposed on every non-exempt vehicle entering the chargeable district, the levy is slated for a general increase commencing June 2014 from £10 to £11.50 per day. According to the Transport for London website, this increase is meant to “maintain the relative deterrent effect of the charge in line with inflation and in comparison with other transport costs and public transport fares, which have increased over time”.
However, according to Next Green Car, further changes to the Congestion Charge are under consideration, which are aimed squarely at the most polluting vehicles. The mayor’s Environment Minister, Matthew Pencharz has suggested a carrot and stick approach which supports buyers of compliant cars and also penalises non-compliant cars through additional Congestion charges.
“The value of a compliant low-emission vehicle will always be higher than that of a non-compliant vehicle. Adding a daily charge increases the cost of a vehicle that isn’t compliant, so for frequent users it becomes more cost-effective to buy a compliant vehicle,” Mr Pencharz said.
As noted in our recent blog post, the UK government has announced a £500m initiative aimed at improving the country’s green rating through expenditure in R&D, discounts for EV buyers, and new EV charging stations.
The City of London Congestion Levy already rewards EV and Hybrid card (emitting less than 75g/kg of CO2) with full exemption, but higher levies for non-compliant cars should improve the uptake of EVs and hopefully reduce pollution levels. Based on experience with other levies around the globe, it is doubtful that the overall levels of congestion will decrease, but at least it will be less harmful.
Here is the Transport For London’s friendly-looking document on Congestion Charging.