The poorest will be hit hardest by future car bans in cities, say filling station owners.
While there is a need to reduce tailpipe emissions, especially in cities, local mayors should be mindful that any extra charges will significantly impact low income households who are already struggling with high energy costs, said Gordon Balmer Executive Director of the Petrol Retailers Association, commenting on a new net-zero by 2030 report commissioned by the Mayor of London.
“As we have repeatedly pointed out to the Government, any road pricing scheme should be balanced against a reduction in fuel duty to avoid motorists being priced off the road”, Gordon Balmer added.
The report sets out that to achieve anywhere near a 27% reduction in car vehicle kilometres, London will need a “new kind of road user charging system implemented by the end of the decade at the latest”. Such a system could abolish all existing road user charges – such as the Congestion Charge and ULEZ – and replace them with a simple and fair scheme where drivers pay per mile, with different rates depending on how polluting vehicles are, the level of congestion in the area and access to public transport.
Gordon Balmer concluded, “Although the report states there will likely be ‘exemptions and discounts for those on low incomes’, apart from the mention of potential scrappage incentives, the strategy is very vague and we await further details.
“The PRA will engage with all relevant parties during the period of consultation to voice our concerns”.
While this appears to be London only issue there are other authorities looking to implement restrictions, including Cardiff, which would hit those on the lowest wages.
The plans for the Welsh Capital two years ago were said to be a tax on the poorest driving into the city for work from homes in the South Wales Valleys. Transport for Wales cannot cope with the likely influx of commuters if there is a strong return to office working after the CV19 pandemic restrictions end.