Off Road Vehicles in central London (Supplementary) [5]

Session date: 
July 15, 2004
Question By: 
Angie Bray
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


It is a shame to always have to take one's lead from the French, but I would have thought even more so in your case to be taking your lead from the Liberal Democrats. If you are so desperate to shore up the flagging revenues from your Congestion Charge, would it not have been a slightly more grown-up way of making policy in this area to set some proper rules so people can understand? For instance, would it not have been more sensible to introduce graded taxes for engine size as an environmental policy? Would it perhaps have been fairer and more straightforward to introduce graded taxes for size of car? The problem is that I think most will see this as merely some whimsical piece of policy-making because you personally do not particularly like those sort of cars.

The benefit of my suggestion would at least allow people to bear the rules in mind when choosing their car in future. For instance, people might think twice about a Jaguar or even a people-carrier (Tony Blair beware!) because those are big cars that take up considerable road space, and who knows where your whims will take you next. Equally, you might also want to consider taxing extra cars running on four-star leaded petrol because they can be smelly. Why not consider these approaches, because at least it would be fairer and more straightforward than a simply whimsical approach because you do not happen to like a particular type of car.

It is not all just meaningless grandstanding to grab a few cheap headlines because I understand that the borough with the largest number of these cars is Kingston. As far as I know, your Congestion Charge does not reach there. Unless you are intending to extend your Congestion Charge to Kingston, surely this is all just meaningless showing-off by you?


Answer for Off Road Vehicles in central London (Supplementary) [5]

Answer for Off Road Vehicles in central London (Supplementary) [5]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Broadly, I agree with you. I think our road tax system, the Congestion Charge, and road pricing when it comes, should all reflect size of vehicle and pollution factors and needs to be tailored so that people can make sensible decisions. This is not whimsy. Anyone who travels up Arkwright Road during the morning rush hour and sees the herds of 4x4s, almost as though they are gathering for the 4x4 graveyard or some weird mating ritual, all manoeuvring around, causing lengthy gridlock, would know these are not sensible for use in this city.

You are right, when I was originally asked on a television programme what I thought about them, I said what I thought, I was not creating policy. Since then, we have had the emerging legal cases in America and the studies there which show that 4x4s are much less stable on the road and likely to flip over.