By Maximilian Clarke

Central London congestion charging should be replaced by a London wide system of pay as you go driving, according to the authors of a new report published today. Road pricing is identified in the mayor’s Transport Strategy as an option which may be needed to meet the mayor’s goals.

The team of professors, lead by John Whitelegg, were asked to explore whether it would meet those strategic aims and to identify options for implementing such a scheme.

Professor John Whitelegg writes in the report
Put in very clear language it is our view that a London-wide road pricing scheme is essential and without it congestion will worsen, air pollution will worsen, the legal consequences of failing to meet air quality standards will grow in severity and fall on the GLA, the health of Londoners will suffer, CO2 reduction targets will be missed and London will stand no chance whatsoever in achieving “best in class” status that it so richly deserves. If this scenario unfolds in this way the consequences will be more severe still because competitor cities are not marking time. They are racing ahead. Almost every major European city is already achieving the success that London may find elusive and the gap will widen and London will slip further down the rankings at an accelerating pace with unwelcome consequences for jobs and inward investment.

“Congestion charging has served London well, but we need to make full use of emerging technologies to deliver a more flexible approach to road pricing which really targets the problems that Londoners face,” added Darren Johnson, whose office at the Assembly commissioned the report. “We have to tackle congestion which is bad for our economy and the air pollution which is bad for our health. I believe this report offers groundbreaking solutions and provides a firm basis for a grown up public debate on the issue.”

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