London Low Emission Zone
89. London has the worst air pollution levels
in the United Kingdom and among the worst in Europe. The objective
of the London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) is to improve air quality
90. The LEZ came into operation in February 2008
for lorries over 12 tonnes, and in July 2008 for lorries over
3.5 tonnes, and buses and coaches over 5 tonnes. Vehicles that
do not comply with the stipulated emissions standards must pay
a daily charge of £200. The scheme is run by TfL.
91. The vehicles affected by the LEZ are older
diesel-engine lorries, buses, coaches and large vans. Cars and
motorcycles are not affected by the scheme. The Mayor of London,
Boris Johnson, announced in February 2009 his intention to suspend
the third phase of the LEZ, which was due to affect vans and minibuses
from October 2010.
92. The set-up costs for the scheme were estimated
at £50 million. Operating costs were estimated at £80
million (present value to 2015-16) while the scheme was estimated
to generate revenues of £5 million to £7 million per
annum. The LEZ is, according to the Office of National Statistics,
a tax rather than a charge, as no benefit accrues to the payer.
93. Apart from the cost of daily charges for
non-compliant vehicles, TfL has estimated the wider cost of the
scheme. These are mainly the result of having to invest in newer,
cleaner vehicles. TfL describes these costs as "significant":
It is estimated
that in economic output
terms the costs of 'compliance' associated with asset replacement
and vehicle upgrade and retrofitting in response to the scheme
would result in overall net economic 'loss' of some £80-110
million (present value to 2015-16).
94. The economic benefits resulting from improved
health in London and beyond are estimated at £140-210 million
or £250-£660 million, depending on the methodology used.
Clearly, the levels of estimated benefit are highly dependent
on the assumptions and methodology.
95. TfL forecasts show that much of the improvement
in air quality resulting from the LEZ would occur anyway as a
result of wider trends towards more modern vehicles and European
pollution control requirements. TfL's monitoring baseline report
shows that the LEZ achieves these improvements about two years
sooner than the trend. Michelle Dix from TfL told us that over
95% of heavy diesel-engine vehicles in central London are now
compliant with Euro3 standard and that there had been a 2% reduction
in "some vehicle emissions".
96. Improving air quality and health in London
is very important but it remains to be seen whether the London
Low Emission Zone will achieve enough that would not have been
achieved by other means to justify the overall cost. The Government
and others need to be mindful of the impacts on business and employment
in relation to the benefits when assessing methods to reduce harmful
emissions from transport and to improve air quality.
97. Parking charges have long been a demand management
tool available to local authorities.
This usually involves restricting the provision of spaces and
increasing charges for parking in central areas; and providing
public transport, park and ride, and other alternatives to the
private car. As we explored in our Report Parking Policy and
Enforcement, parking is an important transport policy tool
for local authorities.
It can be used effectively to manage traffic levels in specific
areas. However, the Local Government Association and others note
the limitations of using parking charges to reduce congestion
and achieve other objectives.
] the equity and effectiveness of such [parking
charge] schemes are limited because they cannot affect people
parking at home addresses or other private parking facilities.
In the absence of other measures, such as congestion
charges, parking charges will continue to be an important local
transport policy tool.
98. Recently, some councils have sought to use
parking charges to pursue other objectives, notably CO2
reduction. Richmond upon Thames Borough Council charges residents
for parking permits according to the CO2 emissions
of the vehicle. The Council is considering extending this principle
to charges at parking meters and in car parks. Edinburgh City
Council has proposed to introduce a similar CO2-related
charge for residents parking permits.
99. This approach to charging has been criticised
as unjustified, ineffective in terms of CO2 emissions
and undermining of green taxes in general.
Norwich City Council, on the other hand, charges on the
basis of the length of the cara criterion that could be
said to relate, at least partly, to the service provided. The
AA also criticises these charges for unfairly "surcharging"
owners of larger engine carsregardless of use. It too believes
that such schemes are detrimental to the relationships between
the motorist and the local charging authority.
100. We are concerned at the increasing trend
to base service charges, such as parking charges, on grounds unrelated
to the service. If parking charges are to be used for wider policy
purposes, these should be proportional, explicit and properly
49 Petrol and Diesel Prices, Standard Note SN/SG/4712,
House of Commons Library, 12 March 2009 Back
HC Deb 22 April 2009 c244 Back
Taxation of road fuels, Standard Note SN/BT/824, House
of Commons Library, May 2009 Back
Ev 161 Back
Angela Eagle Q 507 Back
RAC Foundation, Roads and Reality, 2007, p 27 Back
Ev 140 Back
Environmental Audit Committee, Tenth Report of Session 2007-08,
Vehicle Excise Duty as an environmental tax, HC 907, August
Angela Eagle Q 524. These calculations do not take into account
the carbon involved in scrapping old vehicles or manufacturing
new ones (see Ev 219). Back
Ev 161 Back
Mr Lewis Q 243 Back
Mr Lewis Q 224-225 Back
Durham also has a charging scheme covering a small area of the
historic centre, introduced in 2002. Back
Kulveer Ranger Q 262 ff Back
Ev 190 Back
The National Joint Utilities Group takes issue with TfL and says
that road works are responsible for only 5% of delays in London
TfL Central London Congestion Charging, Impacts Monitoring,
Sixth Annual Report, July 2008, p75-78 Back
Almost half the penalty charge notices for the congestion charge
are issued to drivers living outside the Greater London area (See
TfL Ev 195). Back
Ms Dix Q 281 Back
TfL, Central London Congestion Charging, Impacts Monitoring,
Fifth Annual Report, July 2007, pp 132-139 Back
Ev 113 Back
Ev 150 Back
Ev 130 Back
Ms Dix Q 298 Back
London Assembly Environment Committee, Every Breath You Take,
May 2009 Back
TfL, London Low Emissions Zone Impacts Monitoring Baseline
Report, July 2008, p 9 and p 24 Back
TfL, ibid., p 163 Back
Ms Dix Q 320 (Presumably these are reductions in NOx and/or PM10
- see Ev 190) Back
Sir Colin Buchanan's seminal report Traffic in Towns, 1963,
saw road pricing as being at least 20 years away and so concluded
that "everything points to the immediate importance of parking
policy". (See Traffic Engineering and Control,
January 2009, p 18) Back
Transport Committee, Seventh Report of Session 2005-06 Parking
Policy and Enforcement, HC 748, 22 June 2006 Back
Ev 186 Back
The previous London Mayor proposed to increase the London congestion
charge to £25 for vehicles emitting higher levels of CO2.
with 100% discount for small cars. According to Ms Dix, this created
much concern. Ms Dix Q 70 and Q 75. Back
Ben Webster, Transport Times, Richmond's charge gives green
taxes a bad name, January 2009, p 13 Back
Ev 161 Back