Sadiq Khan has asked TfL to look into using ULEZ cameras to charge car users in the capital’s ‘pay as you drive’ scheme.
The Mayor of London has faced a backlash over the expansion of the Outer London, drawing millions more into an orbit of paying £12.50 a day to use pollutants from August.
Conservative MPs, amid growing signs of unrest within Khan’s Labor party, have been vocal in their criticism of the scheme, with former prime minister Boris Johnson accusing the mayor of wanting to ‘make money off motorists’.
But Mr Khan has now admitted TfL is also looking into developing a scheme where “more advanced technology” could be used to charge road users, the Telegraph reports.
Speaking at the London Assembly this week, in response to a question, he added: “ANPR cameras could form part of the potential operation of such a scheme but no proposals have been developed.”
The Mayor of London is pictured at the time of a people question in Ealing, west London, on Thursday evening
Conservative MPs, in addition to growing signs of unrest within Mr Khan’s party, have been vocal in their criticism of ULEZ expansion.
As part of the ULEZ expansion, TfL plans to install about 2,750 additional cameras – with 300 already installed in some boroughs.
But Conservative members of the London Council argue Khan’s response is indicative of his plans to use the camera network to implement road user charges.
Khan previously revealed that he wants to impose a network of “Singapore-style” toll roads across London as part of efforts to improve air quality in the capital.
He said the “closest comparable” to his road user charging schemes was Singapore, which has “electronic road pricing” that uses sensors attached to giant cranes on major roads to pick up number plates.
These sensors track when drivers use certain roads and charge them based on these factors, for example, rush hour traffic on a busy road is more expensive.
But this change is not currently possible in London because “the technology is not there”.
However, the cameras introduced as part of the ULEZ expansion could be used to monitor the distances drivers travel, where they travel and the level of emissions their cars emit – with concerns drivers may be charged by the mile.
It comes as the City Hall Transportation Commission last month launched an advisory on “the potential introduction of smarter, variable or distance-based route user charging”.
The scope of the advisory adds: ‘For Londoners, the potential introduction of a more intelligent or variable distance-based road user charge would be the biggest change to how you pay for everyday transport since the introduction of Oyster and Congestion Charge nearly 20 years ago. “
During a meeting of the City Council’s transport committee on Tuesday, Cristina Calderato, TfL’s director of strategy, said it was keen to move forward with the plan at the “earliest possible stage”.
Demonstrators took to the streets of London, demanding an end to the proposed “Khanaj”.
Understandably, last week’s Mayor’s answer said the latest version of any new system should be no later than the end of the decade, while TfL began hiring software engineers last summer.
But Mr Khan’s spokesman said the road user fee scheme is just one of several options being assessed and will look at the availability of public transport in a given area, along with employment and income.
“Any formal proposals that may be developed in the future will be subject to consultation with the information provided on the detailed scheme proposals and their potential impacts,” the statement added.
It comes as angry bikers earlier this week slammed the mayor after he called some ULEZ opponents “alt-right” and “Covid-deniers”.
The Mayor of London was having a public questioning appointment in Ealing, west London, on Thursday night when the unusual confrontation developed.
During the bad session, Mr Khan said: “Some of you have good reasons to oppose Oles, but you are allied with the Covid deniers… you may not like it… you are allied with the far right. You are also allied with the vaccine deniers.”
Source: | This article originally belonged to Dailymail.co.uk