Sadiq Khan previously asked TfL to ‘start exploring’ pay-per-mile road charging, report confirms

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
The mayor has previously shown support for pay-per-mile schemes, with a report from last year stating he had asked TfL to “start exploring how it could be developed”.

Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed pay-per-mile in the capital “is still many years away” after disputing a claim Sadiq Khan had asked it to investigate such schemes - despite a report published last year stating otherwise.

On July 13, roads minister Richard Holden told parliament he had met with top TfL officials and the deputy mayor for transport, Seb Dance. He claimed they told him Mr Khan asked them to look into the “technicalities” of road user charging.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This was, he said, to compensate for the projected fall in revenue from the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), as more vehicles become compliant over time.

Mr Dance subsequently wrote to Mr Holden, asking him to correct what he claimed were “misleading comments”, and that “there are no proposals whatsoever for such a scheme”.

“I am sure you will not wish your comments at the despatch box, which give a demonstrably false impression, to remain uncorrected and I invite you to set the record straight,” Mr Dance wrote.

Mr Khan has, however, previously shown support for pay–per-mile - including in an interview with the Financial Times - under which vehicle users are charged depending on their emissions and how far they drive.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

And an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) report on the ULEZ by Jacobs, published last year, explicitly stated the mayor had asked TfL to “start exploring how it (pay-per-mile) could be developed, for implementation later”.

Asked what the outcome of that investigation was, TfL directed LondonWorld to a report compiled for the mayor in November 2022 detailing the results of its ULEZ consultation.

Traffic queues in central London. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.Traffic queues in central London. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images.
Traffic queues in central London. Credit: Daniel Leal/AFP via Getty Images. | AFP via Getty Images

In it, the transport authority wrote that, given the mayor’s aim to cut car use by 27% by 2030, “London may need a new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade”.

It continued: “This could include replacing existing charges with a road user charging scheme that uses more sophisticated technology to make it as simple and fair as possible for customers.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It added the technology required to implement such a scheme in London “is some years from being ready”.

Christine Calderator, TfL’s director of strategy and policy, has now confirmed to LondonWorld that the technology required to implement “a simple and fair road user charging scheme” remains “many years away”, with a spokesperson adding the authority is at an “early stage” in its thinking on how to replace existing charging systems with pay-per-mile.

A spokesperson for the mayor previously said that while an initial assessment was carried out, there are no current investigations into road user charging in the capital.

A recent Centre for London report recommended moving to a pay-per-mile scheme, among other policies, if London is to effectively cut car use and move people away from using private motor vehicles.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Oriane Nermond, research manager at Centre for London, said: “There’s no silver bullet idea to get people to give up on their car. But combining different policies into a coherent package can help to ensure that every Londoner has an affordable alternative to driving.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.