Millions of drivers are in danger of being hit by a new pay-per-mile road tax under Labour plans seen by the Mail on Sunday.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for an army of experts to build a “sophisticated” new pricing system for the capital’s roads – using the cameras installed for his hugely controversial ultra low emission zone (Ulez) and Congestion Charge schemes.
It would mean drivers could incur charges based on the length of the trip taken, the congestion levels on the roads and the levels of pollution emitted.
A source said: “It is an open secret in City Hall that it is being worked on.”
A dedicated website called Project 2030 contains a request for engineers to “join TfL [Transport for London] now” to “lead the way in introducing a new, more sophisticated type of road pricing”.
The move has sparked concerns that Labour could roll out similar road taxes across the country, hitting millions. Amid claims that the party is working towards a “carless society”, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has written to Sir Keir Starmer to warn that the Government would legislate to block Labour from bringing in road charging.
Although Mr. Khan has denied any plans for per-mile charging, papers produced by the Mayor’s office and TfL explain how road pricing could work: “New technology could be used to integrate existing schemes such as the Congestion Charge, Lez and Ulez into a smarter, simpler and fair scheme that would charge motorists on a per-mile basis.
“Different charging rates would apply depending on variables such as how polluting a vehicle is, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.”
The document, which was part of a consultation on Ulez, added: “We are now starting to explore the potential for future road user charging.”
A well-placed source said the cameras from Ulez and the congestion charge could be used to develop the levy.
Mr. Harper said: “It has been suggested Labour plan to use air pollution to attempt to justify bringing in pay-per-mile charging for every car in London.”
He added that the Government will back an amendment to the upcoming Levelling Up Bill to ensure such changes require local council consent.
Worth reading in full.