Ken blasted for lack of action on 4x4s

No attempt made to implement pledge to double congestion charge

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Liberal Democrats in the GLA are accusing the Mayor of being too soft on 4x4s after discovering that no attempt has been made to implement a pledge to double the congestion charge on these vehicles.

They say Ken Livingstone has made a U-turn on his pledge as new information has revealed that he has failed to seek the legal advice necessary to implement the increase. This is despite the Mayor earlier branding school run 4x4 drivers as idiots.

The information, revealed in a Mayoral written answer, shows that despite the Mayor pledging to get Transport for London lawyers to investigate the feasibility of doubling the charge on off-road vehicles, he has now backtracked and will not be pursuing any 4x4 levy.

In July, the Liberal Democrats put forward proposals to charge 4x4 vehicles £10 when they entered the zone in a bid to reduce pollution, congestion and improve pedestrian and other road users safety in London.

London Assembly Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesperson and Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, Lynne Featherstone, said:- "It is bitterly disappointing that the Mayor has failed to push forward with measures to reduce the number of off-road vehicles within the Congestion Charge zone. It is no use branding 4x4 users 'complete idiots' without putting concrete measures in place to put these vehicles off from coming into the capital."

A poll conducted online by the Evening Standard asking the question: "Would you back a £10 congestion charge for 4x4 vehicles?" currently shows 67% answering yes and 33% answering no.

Both Rome and Paris are considering proposals to implement an outright ban on 4x4s in their city centres however the feasibility of such schemes remains in question. The car industries of both countries have lost market share to 4x4s which are generally manufactured overseas. Defenders of 4x4s claim that they are not necessarily more pollutive than other larger engine vehicles and that politicians are targeting them for populist reasons.

October 15, 2004