Sadiq Khan plots ‘pay-as-you-drive’ scheme using Ulez cameras: London Mayor asks TFL to look into developing plan to use more ‘sophisticated technology’ to charge road users
- London Mayor has faced a backlash over the ULEZ expansion to Outer London
- But TfL now looking at how ANPR cameras could form part of road user charging
Sadiq Khan has asked Transport for London to look into using ULEZ cameras to charge car users in a ‘pay-as-you-drive’ scheme in the capital.
The London Mayor has faced a backlash over the expansion to Outer London, dragging millions more into the orbit of paying £12.50 a day for using polluting from August.
Tory MPs, amid growing signs of unrest within Mr Khan’s own Labour party, have been vocal in their criticism of the scheme, with former Prime Minister Boris Johnson accusing the Mayor of wanting to ‘rake in money from motorists’.
But the Mr Khan has now admitted Transport for London is also looking into developing a scheme in which more ‘sophisticated 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 London mayor pictured at a People’s Question Time in Ealing, west London, on Thursday night
Tory MPs, as well as growing signs of unrest within Mr Khan’s own party, have been vocal in their criticism of the ULEZ expansion
As part of the ULEZ expansion, TfL is planning to erect around 2,750 additional cameras – with 300 already installed across some boroughs.
But Tory members of the London Assembly argue Mr Khan’s response is an indication of his plans to use the camera network to implement road user charging.
READ MORE: Fury as ‘disgraceful’ Sadiq Khan is slammed for ‘smearing’ critics of his war on London’s motorists as ‘far Right’ and ‘Covid deniers’
London mayor Sadiq Khan was holding a People’s Question Time in Ealing when the extraordinary confrontation developed
Mr Khan has previously revealed he wants to impose a network of ‘Singapore-style’ toll roads throughout London as part of efforts to improve the capital’s air quality.
He said the ‘nearest comparator’ for his road user charging plans was Singapore, which has ‘electronic road pricing’ which uses sensors attached to gantries over main roads to capture number plates.
These sensors track at what time drivers are using certain roads and charges them a toll based on these factors, for example rush-hour traffic on a busy road being more expensive.
But this change is not currently possible in London as ‘the technology is not there’
However, cameras introduced as part of the ULEZ expansion could be used to monitor the distances drivers travel, where they are travelling and the level of emissions their vehicles emit – with fears drivers may be charged by the mile.
It comes as City Hall’s Transport Committee last month launched a consultation into the ‘potential introduction of variable or distanced-based smarter road user charging’.
The scope of the consultation adds: ‘For Londoners, the potential introduction of variable or distanced-based smarter road user charging would be the biggest change in how daily transport is paid for since the introduction of Oyster and the Congestion Charge nearly 20 years ago.’
And during a City Hall Transport Committee meeting on Tuesday, TfL’s director of strategy Christina Calderato said it was keen to plough ahead with the plan at the ‘earliest possible stage’.
Protestors took to the streets of London calling for the proposed ‘Khanage’ to be halted
A mayoral answer last week is understood to have said the latest any new system is introduced should be no later than the end of the decade, while TfL began hiring software engineers last summer.
But a spokesperson for Mr Khan said the road user charging scheme is just one of multiple options being assessed and would look at the availability of public transport in the given area, along with employment and income.
A statement added: ‘Any formal proposals which could be developed in the future would be subject to consultation with information provided on detailed scheme proposals and their likely impacts.’
It comes as furious drivers earlier this week slammed the Mayor after he branded some ULEZ opponents ‘far-Right’ and ‘Covid deniers’.
The London mayor was holding a People’s Question Time in Ealing, west London on Thursday night when the extraordinary confrontation developed.
During the bad-tempered session, Mr Khan said: ‘Some of you have got good reasons to oppose Ulez, but you are in coalition with Covid deniers… you may not like it… you are in coalition with the far-Right. And you are in coalition with vaccine deniers as well.’
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