SMMT has called for an extension to the mayor’s consultation on proposed changes to the congestion charge. In an initial response to Transport for London (TfL), the motor industry body has made clear that current proposals will neither significantly cut CO2 nor reduce congestion in the capital and that, given the complexity of the scheme, more time is needed for discussion.
TfL’s own figures claim a CO2 saving of up to 8,100 tonnes under the plan to base central London charges on car CO2 emissions. That compares to total ground-based transport emissions in London of 9.7 million tonnes. In other words, the maximum benefit for the capital would be a CO2 reduction of just 0.084 per cent.
To put this in context, improvements at UK car and commercial vehicle manufacturing sites have cut CO2 from 2.14 to 1.36 million tonnes in just four years, a saving of 36.5 per cent. Average new car CO2 emissions have also come down by 12 per cent in a decade, saving an estimated one million tonnes of CO2 each year in the UK.1
Concerns about environmental improvements come after an independent report suggested that changes could encourage between 4-10,000 additional cars onto central London roads. That means more congestion and delays for drivers within the zone, as well as minimal benefit for the environment, if the plans proceed.
‘The motor industry has asked the mayor for an extension to the consultation period to work with Transport for London,’ said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan. ‘The issues are complex and TfL must be absolutely clear about the scheme’s aims. Its execution must also deliver the greatest benefit both in terms of congestion and CO2 reduction and the charges to drivers must be proportionate.’
1. At Ã¢â€š¬20 bn, the automotive sector is Europe’s largest investor in R&D, driving industry forward and helping deliver more sustainable motoring for the 21st century. Technological innovation has helped car and CV manufacturers slash CO2 and air quality emissions from vehicles. New diesel cars for example emit 95 per cent less soot from the tailpipe than those made 15 years ago and average new car CO2 has been cut by 12 per cent since 1997.
Each vehicle made in Britain requires half the energy to produce than it did just five years ago, saving an estimated 700,000 tonnes of CO2 a year. Total combined waste to landfill down by more than half, from 80,399 tonnes in 2000 to 39,862 tonnes in 2006. For more details, download SMMT’s eighth annual Sustainability Report from the SMMT web site www.smmt.co.uk/category/reports/.