High-Emission Vehicles to Pay £200 ($400!) to Enter London

London mayor Ken Livingstone, whose congestion-pricing plan has served as a model for Mayor Bloomberg’s, is expected to unveil today an even more radical measure aimed at reducing pollution in his city. According to the Guardian, Livingstone’s proposal would target high-emission commercial vehicles:

Ken Livingstone is expected to confirm that older, "dirtier" lorries and buses will be charged £200 a day to drive in London. London First, a lobby group for businesses in the capital, has warned that the scheme will hit smaller firms that cannot afford modern vehicles that are exempt.

Mr Livingstone also plans to adapt the £8-a-day congestion charge so the most polluting vehicles pay £25 a day to enter.

The LEZ will cover all of London’s 33 boroughs, rather than the smaller congestion zone, which straddles central and western areas of the city….Fines will be far more punitive than the congestion scheme, with transgressors facing a bill of up to £1,000.

The LEZ has been earmarked for launch next year and will be extended to vans and buses by 2010, in effect giving businesses two years’ notice to overhaul their fleets.

Mr Livingstone has commissioned a report on the LEZ and indicated earlier this year that he would push ahead with it. "London suffers from the worst air quality in the UK and the proposed low-emission zone would target those diesel engine lorries, coaches, buses, heavier vans and minibuses which are pumping out the most harmful pollutants," he said.

Transport for London, the capital’s transport body, estimates the LEZ would prevent about 40 deaths a year from pollution-related illnesses and avoid up to 86 hospital admissions. Some businesses have backed the LEZ and called for even more stringent curbs.

The Knightsbridge Association called for a more ambitious scheme. "The LEZ should go much further, much faster," it said. 

  • Mitch

    Atrios has a nice, elegant justification of congestion pricing from an economist’s point of view:

    “It’s important to note that the thinking behind a congestion tax isn’t simply about “charging people to drive,” it’s about the fact that driving on crowded roads involves an unpriced negative externality. That is, there’s the private cost of driving which you take into account when you drive down the road and then there’s the external cost which is due to the fact that the presence of your car slows things down a bit for everybody else. So what happens is that there’s too much traffic, relative to what there would be if the full social cost of driving were taken into account when people made the decision to drive to work.

    “In other words, it’s a tax/toll even economists can love.”

  • v

    more for “the most polluting vehicles”? does that mean “the taurus i inherited from grandma” or trucks?

    this is one spot where congestion pricing gets all wonky…switch to carbon tax and polluting vehicles will pay more…wherever they are.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    A carbon tax isn’t enough. I want there to be a “deadly” tax, maybe per pound per horsepower.

  • I think fixed taxes based on Co2 Emissions and horsepower for example are discrimating against choice of vehcile vs usage. Consider my case. I own a vehilce with 483 horsepower which I only use once or twice a month. I otherwise always use puplic transport. Why should I pay a higher tax when I do not even use it? The fairest solution to this is to increase the taxes on petrol so it hurts the user with the highest usage – a proportional tax. These high users will then find alternative means of tranportation or more efficient means of transportation. Why is this not done?

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