Johnson scraps £25 congestion charge

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Indy Politics

London's mayor Boris Johnson today scrapped the proposed £25 charge on larger vehicles entering central London after a legal challenge by luxury carmaker Porsche.

Porsche said that its case, heard in the Administrative Court, had been a success, adding that it had been awarded legal costs expected to amount to a six-figure sum. The firm launched a judicial review against former mayor Ken Livingstone in February.

Mr Johnson issued a statement saying he was "delighted" to be able to scrap the charge.

Mr Livingstone had planned to raise the charge for vehicles with the highest carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to £25 in October.

Mr Johnson told the BBC abandoning the proposal was in keeping with his aim to achieve a "fairer and more effective" congestion charge.

Mr Livingstone said it was a "further blow" to London's attempts to help tackle climate change.

Mr Johnson told the BBC: "I am delighted that we have been able to scrap the £25 charge, which would have hit families and small businesses hardest.

"I believe the proposal would actually have made congestion worse by allowing thousands of small cars in for free."

The higher charges were due to come into force on October 27, with the £25 charge applying to vehicles emitting more than 225 grams of carbon dioxide per one kilometre, as well as those registered before March 2001 which have engines larger than 3,000cc

Of cars currently being driven in the congestion charging zone, 17% would have been liable for the £25 charge.

Mr Livingstone said: "Today's announcement is a further blow to London as a groundbreaking city to tackle climate change and improve the environment.

"The claim that £10m has been 'saved' by scrapping the CO2 charge is entirely false - in reality London will lose £30-£60m expected annual revenue from the scheme."

Porsche had published research that it said showed that the new charge would actually increase car mileage.

Managing director Andy Goff said: "We were always confident that our legal case was right and that we would win in the end.

"The charge was clearly unfair and was actually going to increase emissions in London.

"Porsche is proud to have played a decisive role in striking down such a blatantly political tax increase targeting motorists."

The company said it would donate the legal costs awarded to youth charity Skidz, which helps turn young people away from crime by training them as mechanics.

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