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Mayor must be CLEARER on whether his aim is to remove pollution or congestion, says Addison Lee CEO

Image credit: Addison Lee

Private hire firm Addison Lee has called on the Mayor of London to be clearer on whether his aim is to remove pollution or congestion, following the release of bold new plans around transport emissions.

A new report published today by Element Energy, commissioned by the Mayor of London, set out the scale of the action required to move London towards a greener future and net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.

The potential approaches under consideration are:

  • Extending the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) even further to tackle more of the dirtiest vehicles: extending the current zone beyond the north and south circular roads to cover the whole of Greater London, using the current charge level and emissions standards.

  • Modifying the ULEZ to make it even more impactful in reducing emissions: building on the existing scheme by extending it to cover the whole of Greater London and adding a small clean air charge for all but the cleanest vehicles.

  • A small clean air charge: a low-level daily charge across all of Greater London for all but the cleanest vehicles to nudge behaviour and reduce the number of short journeys by car

  • Introducing a Greater London boundary charge, which would charge a small fee to non-London registered vehicles entering Greater London, responding to the increase in cars from outside London travelling into the city seen in recent years.

In response to the plans, one of the capital's biggest private hire operators called on the Mayor of London to be clearer with his ambitions and invest in improving the electric vehicle charging network.

Liam Griffin, Addison Lee CEO, said: “Addison Lee supports the Mayor’s ambition to make London a net zero city by 2030. The current approach focusses on removing vehicles from London’s roads by increasing taxes on road use; however, to truly remove pollution from the capital’s air the main focus should be supporting drivers to switch to full electric vehicles as soon as possible. We are doing our bit by electrifying our entire fleet by 2023 - which will remove an estimated 20,000 tonnes of CO2 from London’s roads each year.

“We call on the Mayor to be clearer on whether his aim is to remove pollution or congestion.

“We urgently need an EV charging infrastructure revolution to ensure that fleets and private vehicle owners can shift to fully electric vehicles as soon as possible. We are encouraging the Mayor to start talking to fleet operators and professional drivers to fully understand the importance of a more comprehensive rollout of EV infrastructure.”

The RAC were also concerned with the Mayor’s plans, especially for those that face more financial challenges at a time when businesses are trying to recover and costs are rising rapidly.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC’s Head of Roads Policy, said: “These proposals would create massive financial challenges for individuals, families and businesses who run a car in London and even for those who visit the fringes of the capital. We all want to see cleaner air and cleaner vehicles on the road and it’s right the Mayor has ambitions to reduce emissions from road transport but these proposals could be beyond the means of many and will punish those who simply cannot afford an electric car.

“Our research suggests fewer than a third of drivers in London expect to switch to an electric vehicle within the next five years, and at the same time the Mayor himself cannot commit to a zero-emission TfL bus fleet until 2037.

“Worse still, proposals to charge vehicles outside of London to enter the boundary is likely to impact hardest on workers such as carers, tradespeople and night-time economy staff for whom there is no alternative to using a vehicle. At a time when the basic cost of living for Londoners is soaring, these proposals seem to be poorly timed, so we strongly urge the Mayor to think again instead of defaulting to extracting more money from the pockets of London’s drivers.”


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