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Single, Smart Road Charging Scheme Needed to Boost London Business Efficiency

Wednesday 22 March 2023

The London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has called for reform to the current road user charging scheme by developing a single, smart scheme instead. The call was made by LCCI in its submission to the London Assembly.

London businesses need a new road charging scheme that would focus on improving air quality, reducing congestion, and tackling the climate emergency. These aims align with the target of the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan for London ton be net zero by 2030 and the Government’s ambitions for the UK to be net zero by 2050.

At present, there exists multiple separate schemes. Therefore, it is imperative that the Mayor combines them to develop a single scheme to ensure greater efficiency in addressing policy objectives.

Businesses which switch to low or zero-emissions vehicles also require electric charging infrastructure. For any type of battery-powered vehicle, there will be a need for charging points. Shifting to zero or low emission heavy goods vehicles will also be a significant challenge for the logistics industry.

The current experience of the proposed ULEZ expansion in August 2023 suggests that businesses need a longer lead-in time before further change is introduced.

James Watkins, Head of Policy and Public Impact at the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry added: “There are many businesses based in London who travel across the capital and so the potential for different schemes presents multiple challenges. When considering a future scheme in London, Transport for London and the Mayor must engage with HM Treasury and the Department for Transport on its own plans for road user charging, and perhaps even use the opportunity to help shape the design of a national road user charging scheme.

“Businesses must not have to put up with the red tape of multiple road charging schemes. At the same time, during this cost of living crisis, the Mayor must ensure that the vehicle scrappage scheme linked to a simplified road charging scheme is fit for purpose”.

Read LCCI’s full submission on the future of smart road user charging here.