London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone was expanded at the end of October to include most of greater London, charging drivers with non-compatible cars £12.50 to drive in the area. In addition to the ULEZ, the Congestion Charge remains in operation for drivers, charging them £15.
But soon, another charge could be levied on any motorist who drives into London.
During a Transport for London finance committee meeting last week, it was estimated that a £500million-a-year funding hole would be left.
It is believed that the ULEZ has proved effective, with TfL expecting not to receive as much money as was hoped due to a “greater compliance” with the rules.
This comes despite TfL and Sadiq Khan insisting the ULEZ was about lowering London’s pollution rate, not collecting revenue.
TfL says it would help further contribute to a “green recovery for London” by reducing the number of vehicles entering the capital, raising around £500million every year.
The boundary charge would apply on top of existing fees like the Congestion Charge and the £12.50 ULEZ charge, further adding to non-Londoners’ headaches when entering the capital.
It could save Londoners from facing far higher bus and tube fares to plug the funding gap.
But it could also hit businesses in outer London which currently bring in visitors from outside the capital.
Conservative MP Andrew Rosindell said a boundary charge would be “devastating” for his East London borough of Havering.
He told MyLondon: “The imposition of a boundary charge would add insult to injury for the people of Romford and Havering who have simply had enough of this Zones 1-3 Mayor.”
Romford in Havering is a popular town centre for many travelling from Essex, with Mr Rosindell fearing that residents could look to Southend to avoid the fee.
Sadiq Khan confirmed on Thursday that a boundary charge was “one of the options we’re considering”.
“I’m not running towards this. [But] £500million is a big ask for us,” he said at Mayor’s Question Time.
Mr Khan told the London Assembly: “London’s recovery is contingent on getting the money it needs to provide a world-class transport service.”
Opposing the plans, Croydon and Sutton Assembly Member Neil Garrett said the money raised from the £3.50 charge itself would be very small, with most of the actual cash coming from fines.
The ULEZ was expanded on October 25 to a size 18 times larger than the original zone which was set up in 2018.