Double congestion charge urged for 4x4 drivers

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Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles such as Range Rovers should be charged double to enter the London congestion charge area, the Liberal Democrats said yesterday.

Drivers of four-wheel drive vehicles such as Range Rovers should be charged double to enter the London congestion charge area, the Liberal Democrats said yesterday.

Increasing the fee to £10 for the vehicles, known as 4x4s, would reduce pedestrian injuries and pollution, the party argued in a report on the congestion charge.

The party also said that the charge should end at 5pm instead of 6.30pm; drivers should have five free entries into the congestion zone per year, and the charge should be scrapped between Christmas and the New Year.

The Liberal Democrats produced research which showed that the proportion of 4x4s to the total number of cars was higher in London (14.9 per cent) than anywhere else in the UK.

Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrats' transport spokesman and chairwoman of the London Assembly transport committee, said yesterday: "[The] vehicles in city centres are a danger to pedestrians, a potential hazard to other road users, can cause more damage than any other type of car and take up more road space, so increasing congestion ... The one-size-fits-all congestion charge is both outdated and flawed."

She added: "It is time that the Mayor considered new and innovative ways of enabling road space in central London to work better. The Mayor stuck his neck out with the congestion charge but he is burying his head in the sand when it comes to implementing improvements."

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