Sadiq Khan to impose congestion charge on electric vehicles

Sadiq Khan is extending London’s congestion charge to all zero-emission vehicles from the end of next year.

The move, which will extend the £15-a-day tax on motoring to battery-powered electric vehicles from Christmas Day 2025, was widely condemned on Tuesday.

Mark Harper, the Transport Secretary, said: “Taxing cars even if they’re zero emission shows Labour’s plan to use motorists as cash cows. If they get into government there will be worse to come, with pay-by-mile taxes and fuel duty hikes to help close their £2,000 tax black hole.”

The AA described the scrapping of the green exemption as “a turkey bone in the throat” for owners of electric cars wanting to drive them in the capital.

Mr Khan’s office declined to comment when approached by The Telegraph.

Over the years, the Mayor of London has spoken extensively about his personal drive to improve London’s air quality by imposing charges and restrictions on motorists, including the Low Emission Zone (Lez) and the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (Ulez).

Transport for London (TfL), which he chairs, confirmed this week that it was proceeding with plans to remove the current £10-a-year exemption that lets owners of battery-powered vehicles drive in the capital without paying the £15-a-day congestion charge.

A spokesman said the plans were first announced in 2018, highlighting a statement from that year which mainly talked about scrapping exemptions for taxis. The congestion charge exemption does not apply to the Lez or Ulez schemes.

Confirmation on Tuesday that the zero emission vehicle exemptions will be scrapped were condemned by Quentin Willson, a former Top Gear presenter who now campaigns for a faster transition to electric vehicles.

Mr Willson told The Telegraph that the plans seemed “counter-productive” and that his FairCharge UK group would be writing to the Mayor to object to them.

“The cynic in me can’t help thinking that this is a revenue-based issue,” he said. “Why are we stopping it now? And they will say, ‘well, it’s a congestion issue’. But then surely, it’s manifestly better to have cars with zero tailpipe emissions sitting in queues rather than those that are polluting diesel and petrol?

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