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London raises its congestion charge for gas-guzzling vehicles

London raises its congestion charge for gas-guzzling vehiclesIn London today, all cars, except the cleanest ones, have to pay £8 ($16) a day, to enter the city of London. But starting in October this year owners of big gas-guzzling cars will need to pay £25 ($50).

On a news conference Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, said that he believes that “this ground-breaking initiative will have an impact throughout the world with other cities following suit as they step up their efforts to halt the slide towards catastrophic climate change."

Ken Livingstone admits that the new tax will only have a minor impact on greenhouse gas emissions in London. But, he says the new congestion charging scheme for gas-guzzling cars will send signals that its time to change lifestyle.

"I have every sympathy for a Scottish hill farmer who needs his 4×4 to get around," Livingstone said. "But there is absolutely no justification for cars producing high amounts of pollution being driven in central London."

The new scheme is expected to bring in around £30-£50 million ($60-$100), every year. The money will go to fund the cost for a major cycling initiative in London.

While environmental organisations and a majority of the citizens in London welcome the new scheme the motor industry is not happy. Automobile Association president Edmund King welcomes incentives for greener cars, but says that "larger families who do low mileage will be clobbered by this new tax."

Tony Juniper, from Friends of the Earth Director, welcomes the new scheme but says more is needed.

"Road traffic is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Measures that get people to choose greener cars, as well as to drive less, are urgently needed. Charging gas-guzzling vehicles more to drive in central London is extremely welcome and supported by most Londoners. We are delighted that Mr Livingstone is taking a lead on this issue."

Below is a video from SkyNews where Tony Juniper and Porsche go head to head on congestion charging in London:

Image credit: Joshua Kaufman. Image licensed under a

Creative-Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

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