Sadiq Khan’s ‘plans for pay-per-mile charges’ could be thwarted by new law

The London mayor’s reported interest in adopting a new pay-per-mile scheme could be scuppered by a new Tory law that may let councils block it.

Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, has written to Sir Keir Starmer warning that the Government will back an amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill that would ensure councillors could block “a Labour plan to use air pollution to attempt to justify” charges on drivers, reports The Telegraph.

Mr Khan is understood to have instructed officials to look at ways to introduce pay-per-mile charging in the future.

The Labour mayor described “road-user charging” as “quite exciting”, explaining that it could help improve air quality “if you charge people on how many miles they drive, how polluting their vehicle is, what time of day they’re driving”.

But City Hall has denied this saying there was no prospect of the charges being implemented “in the foreseeable future”.

READ MORE: Furious ULEZ protesters chat ‘Get Khan Out’ as zone expansion days away

An amendment to the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill would introduce a new clause that would allow a local authority to opt out of Transport for London (TfL) “road user charging schemes in London” if the scheme was meant to improve air quality.

The new clause would empower London borough councils that are meeting air quality standards and objectives or an approved plan to do so to opt out from some road charging schemes proposed by TfL.

ULEZ will cover the whole of the capital, including the outer boroughs, from Tuesday, August 29.

It aims to cut pollution levels by charging drivers of vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards within the zone £12.50 a day. It means that combined with the current congestion charge they would have to spend £27.50 to drive into central London.

Mr Khan insists it will improve air quality and prevent 4,000 premature deaths from pollution. But there has been criticism that his claims are based on flawed data.

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Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP for South Thanet, said: “The so-called scientific data is no better than extrapolated statistics that are widely discredited,” reports The Telegraph.

He said: “I’d have more respect for his ULEZ position, which is merely a new means of extracting a tax with force of civil enforcement from those least able to pay across London and the Home Counties, if he were to be honest enough to say that it’s a tax grab to prop up his failing administration.

“I understand that any future ‘pay per mile’ charging scheme that the mayor may like to introduce will be vetoed and rightly so. 

“Motorists have had enough of being treated as villains and cash machines and I hope that residents of the outer London boroughs in particular will play a key part in his downfall next year.”

But Mr Khan has hit back at his detractors. In an interview with The Times yesterday he said believes he will be on the “right side of history” with the ULEZ scheme. 

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