“While there is a need to reduce tailpipe emissions, especially in cities, local mayors should be mindful that any extra charges will significantly impact low income households who are already struggling with high energy costs”, said Gordon Balmer Executive Director of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), commenting on a new net-zero by 2030 report commissioned by the Mayor of London and released today.
“As we have repeatedly pointed out to the Government, any road pricing scheme should be balanced against a reduction in fuel duty to avoid motorists being priced off the road”, Gordon Balmer added.
The report was published today by Element Energy and commissioned by the Mayor of London. It highlights that in order to reduce transport emissions by the amount required to achieve net-zero by 2030, the capital will have to see a “significant shift away from petrol and diesel”.
The Mayor believes this is also a matter of “social justice with air pollution hitting the poorest communities the hardest”, however, the PRA underlines, the poorest communities will also be detrimentally impacted by continuously rising costs.
The report sets out that to achieve anywhere near a 27% reduction in car vehicle kilometres, London will need a “new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade at the latest”. Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ - and replace them with a simple and fair scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.
The potential approaches currently under consideration are:
Subject to consultation and feasibility, the chosen scheme would be implemented by May 2024.
Gordon Balmer concluded: “Although the report states there will likely be ‘exemptions and discounts for those on low incomes’, apart from the mention of potential scrappage incentives, the strategy is very vague and we await further details.
“The PRA will engage with all relevant parties during the period of consultation to voice our concerns”.
About the RMI
The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.