A daily levy of up to £2 to drive a petrol or diesel car in London could be imposed by Sadiq Khan under radical options being considered to reduce toxic air pollution.
The Mayor is also considering expanding the ultra-low emission zone across all of Greater London’s 33 boroughs, well beyond the Ulez’s current boundary of the North and South Circular roads.
A third option would see both the Ulez expand and the “clean air charge” – which he said would cost a “small sum of money” but probably more than a bus ticket – being introduced.
A fourth option would see Mr Khan press ahead with already controversial plans to impose a Greater London boundary charge of about £3.50 a day on out-of-town motorists driving into the capital.
He wants to make the change before his second term of office ends in May 2024.
Transport for London has been asked to investigate the feasibility of the four options – and also the longer-term aim of introducing the world’s first road-user charging scheme in London by the end of the decade.
Khan’s announcement on Tuesday came after an expert report commissioned by City Hall said car journeys needed to be reduced by 27% by the end of the decade if London were to meet its ambitions on climate change.
Saying the clean air charge could cost more than a bus fare – currently £1.55 but due to increase in March as part of the delayed annual fares hike of about five per cent.
He said only drivers of hybrid or electric vehicles were likely to be exempt. The Mayor said he wanted to have an “earnest conversation with Londoners” to secure backing for his aim to make London “net zero” in terms of carbon emissions by 2030.