Chris Ames 18 January 2022

Khan eyes pay-per-mile fix for capital’s emissions

Khan eyes pay-per-mile fix for capital’s emissions image
Image: Brian Minkoff /

London must implement a pay per mile road charging system to achieve its targets for cutting toxic air and carbon emissions, according to a new report commissioned by the mayor's office.

The report sets out that to achieve ‘anywhere near’ a 27% reduction in car vehicle kilometres, London will need a new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade at the latest.

‘Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ - and replace them with a simple and fair scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.’

City Hall said the report, published by Element Energy, shows that it needs to take more action, particularly around reducing vehicle use, ‘but that the Mayor does not have the funding or powers to deliver everything that’s required alone’.

Officials said that in order to reduce transport emissions ‘by anywhere close to the amount required to clean up London’s air, achieve net-zero by 2030 and cut congestion’, the capital will have to see a significant shift away from petrol and diesel vehicle use.

London mayor Sadiq Khan, said: ‘This new report must act as a stark wake-up call for the Government on the need to provide much greater support to reduce carbon emissions in London. It’s clear the scale of the challenge means we can’t do everything alone.

‘But I’m not willing to stand by and wait when there’s more we can do in London that could make a big difference. We simply don’t have time to waste.

'We have too often seen measures to tackle air pollution and the climate emergency delayed around the world because it’s viewed as being too hard or politically inconvenient, but I’m not willing to put off action we have the ability to implement here in London.’

Rosamund Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, whose daughter Ella died during an asthma attack brought on by pollution, said: ‘ Measures such as road pricing and expanding the ULEZ will mean everyone’s health will benefit. We know measures like the ULEZ work and have led to a 44% reduction in roadside nitrogen dioxide concentrations in central London.

‘We need more approaches like this; otherwise children like Ella will continue to die. On Monday 24 January Ella would have turned 18.’

Officials said Mr Khan has asked Transport for London to start exploring how the technology needed to introduce this kind of road user charging scheme could be developed. ‘However, it’s clear the technology to implement such a scheme is still years away from being ready.’

This article first appeared on Transport Network.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Assistant Director - Prevention and Service Development

North Yorkshire County Council
£86,252- £98,275 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! County Hall and around the county, including from home
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Transport Development Planner

Suffolk County Council
£39,759 per annum (pro rata if part time)
A great opportunity to join the Suffolk County Council's Transport Strategy Team as a Principal Transport Development Planner. Suffolk County Council, Ipswich IP1 2BX
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

Senior Manager - Asset and Network

Cheshire West & Chester
£56,593 - £62,792
This is a brand-new role developed out of our vision for the future of the recently established Transport and Highways directorate. Chester, Ellesmere Port, Winsford
Recuriter: Cheshire West & Chester

Provider Development Manager

North Yorkshire County Council
£50,183 - £58,379 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! County-wide – Hybrid
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Integrated Care

North Yorkshire County Council
£60,567 - £69,001 plus relocation support (up to £8,000)
Come and Join Team North Yorkshire! North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Partner Content

Circular highways is a necessity not an aspiration – and it’s within our grasp

Shell is helping power the journey towards a circular paving industry with Shell Bitumen LT R, a new product for roads that uses plastics destined for landfill as part of the additives to make the bitumen.

Support from Effective Energy Group for Local Authorities to Deliver £430m Sustainable Warmth Funded Energy Efficiency Projects

Effective Energy Group is now offering its support to the 40 Local Authorities who have received a share of the £430m to deliver their projects on the ground by surveying properties and installing measures.

Pay.UK – the next step in Bacs’ evolution

Dougie Belmore explains how one of the main interfaces between you and Bacs is about to change.