Sadiq Khan says ULEZ, congestion charge and future tolls may be ‘simplified’ into single scheme

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Sadiq Khan says there is no need to consider pay-per-mile, and that other ideas were explored, including a boundary charge and a carbon charge.

The ULEZ, LEZ, Congestion Charge and future road tolls may be simplified into one user charging scheme, said Sadiq Khan.

The mayor also admitted he has previously asked Transport for London (TfL) to look into a host of alternative schemes, including a boundary charge and a carbon charge.

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Mr Khan was clear however that pay-per-mile, which charges drivers depending on factors such as the distance driven and emissions caused, was “not on my agenda”, despite having previously shown support for such initiatives.

The mayor was quizzed during this morning’s (September 14) Mayor’s Question Time by Conservative assembly member Emma Best about whether he intends to introduce pay–per-mile.

Ms Best referenced a report from 2022 which stated Mr Khan had asked TfL to look into combining the capital’s various schemes in London into a “simple and fair pay-per-mile road user charging scheme for introduction by the end of the decade”.

The mayor said that while alternative options are often reviewed, he believes the swathe of transport policies he already has, such as the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), mean pay-per-mile is “not on the table, not on my radar”.

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There are currently multiple road user charging schemes in London, including the ULEZ and LEZ. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images.There are currently multiple road user charging schemes in London, including the ULEZ and LEZ. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images.
There are currently multiple road user charging schemes in London, including the ULEZ and LEZ. Credit: Leon Neal/Getty Images. | Getty Images

Asked by Ms Best whether this position is likely to be reversed, as happened when he told Conservative AM Keith Prince in a written answer that the ULEZ would not be expanded to cover all of greater London, the mayor said he and TfL regularly look at schemes they later discard.

These have previously included boundary charges and carbon charges.

“As long as I am mayor, we are not going to have pay-per-mile,” Mr Khan told the Assembly.

The mayor said that the current road user charging schemes may be simplified under his mayoralty, and that, over time, the cost of paying various charges in the capital could be amended.

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The current road user charging schemes in-place in the capital are the ULEZ, the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), and the Congestion Charge Zone (CCZ). Tolls are also due to be introduced on the Silvertown and Blackwall tunnels, once the former is opened in 2025.

“If there’s a way of simplifying that, so rather than potentially paying four charges you can do it one way, that’s something I’m not averse to,” he said.

An independent think-tank, City for London, recently warned Mr Khan is making a “mistake” by ruling out pay-per-mile, saying it is “a fairer way for drivers to pay than the current system of boundary charges, where people pay the same amount regardless of whether they drive in the ULEZ or congestion charge zones for five minutes, or five hours”.

Green assembly member Siân Berry called for the mayor to reconsider, telling LondonWorld: “If we do have to wait until the end of a further mayoral term for there to be the political bravery and leadership to talk about ways to cut traffic, we are really putting at risk reaching our climate targets and leaving streets dominated by vehicles with all the danger, pollution and ill-health that brings.

“We need to be making space on the streets for healthier ways to get around and investing hugely in public transport services as alternatives to driving.”

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