No Pay Per Mile ULEZ 180323

Highway Robbery







Exposing the Mayor’s inconsistencies

and under-publicised plans


The terms ‘road pricing’ and ‘road user charging’ are mostly used interchangeably by people, although Transport for London (TfL) use the latter to cover ‘taxes on moving’ like the ULEZ or Congestion Charging. Or, in future, tunnel tolls.


Some see road pricing as reflecting distance (such as the concept of pay-per-mile tolls).  Drivers have to pay several other taxes/charges for using the road, such as VED (‘road tax’) and parking permits. In broad terms, UK drivers pay about £50bn a year in the various taxes/charges, including VAT. Only a fraction (c. £10bn a year) is spent back on roads, much of it wasted on schemes to make life harder for drivers.








·        Mayor Khan has enthusiastically looked at new ways of making money out of drivers. Having previously said he had no plans to expand ULEZ, he couldn’t resist the temptation. He went ahead with it, going back on his word that he wouldn’t if the opposition was overwhelming!!!


·        So was public opposition to London-wide road pricing. There are marked concerns on privacy as well as cost. With an election approaching and public unrest, he now makes a gesture not to go ahead with some specific ‘pay per mile’ road pricing – leaving plenty of wriggle room. The Mayor’s denials are unconvincing.


·        The Mayor is Chair of Transport for London (TfL). TfL has not just identified serious money-making opportunities, it has employed contractors to develop a £150 million road pricing system, While recently denying plans for road pricing, the Mayor contradicts himself by talking up a single charging system to replace existing charges. This has been the blueprint for his road pricing system.


·        The Mayor’s statements and behaviour on various issues have been inconsistent and even contradictory. This is especially true on health and environment matters.  





·        Mayor Khan got elected on a slogan ‘A Mayor for All Londoners’. But his key policy document, the Mayor’s Transport Strategy, is blatantly anti-motorist. Transport for London (TfL) is bound by the Strategy to (high handedly) ensure that by 2041, 80% of journeys made in Greater London are either by walking, cycling or public transport. Motor vehicle journeys are to be pushed off the road.….


·        TfL has made clear its desire to implement a road user charging scheme that would replace the current Congestion Charge and ULEZ. The Mayor is also Chair of TfL.


·        The under-publicised consultation on ULEZ (2022) had questions on what sort of road user charging might be introduced – and effectively assumed that it would be in place London-wide by 2026 to replace ULEZ income. 83% of responses were opposed. (See report, Appendix F, p112).


·        Even so, in 2023, the Greater London Assembly Transport Committee announced a further consultation on what it might look like. Public responses were heavily against, with marked concerns on privacy as well as cost. 


·        Saying ‘no decision has been made’ looks thin. The Mayor’s Transport Strategy reads: “The Mayor, through TfL, will investigate proposals for the next generation of road user charging systems.....TfL will develop the design, operation and technical elements of these proposals.” (awkwardly numbered, p96 or p49/163 in PDF).


·        Having made clear its desire for a road user charging scheme that would replace the current Congestion Charge and ULEZ, TfL has recruited several contractors working on developing road pricing systems. The project, Project Detroit, will cost over £100 million, and it’s not just to look at processing payments in-house.





·        The Mayor’s denials of intent are unconvincing – see his non-answer to Neil Garratt AM at Mayor’s Question Time (MQT/2023/4718, 21 Dec 2023). It goes against the grain of his long term pattern of behaviour (Election approaching?). But if he can so easily change his mind, might he easily change it back again?


·        His Manifesto commitment has plenty of wriggle room. In ruling out “a move to any form of pay-per-mile smart road user charging system’, there is no clear meaning of ‘smart’  - and this would not rule out some form of area-based charge or daily charge (A strangely-named ‘London-wide carbon charge’ recommended in 2021, (p66). Nor, technically, pay by kilometre, which was also considered then (p56).


·        He was reported (18 Jan 2022) as wanting pay-per-mile road pricing in the context of ‘climate change targets’. “Longer term, Mr Khan says he needs to bring in a pay-per-mile system...” 


·        On 8 April 2024, the Express published no less than seventeen pieces of evidence on the Mayor’s plans for road pricing. On 17 April 2024, his ally Cllr Mete Coban confirmed that the Mayor had only ruled it out “for now”.


·        Despite his denials, he has recently talked up ‘having a single charge to pay… making it simple’. Making it easier for drivers, even? How this could be achieved without a replacement road pricing system was not explained. (See short ‘Future of Motoring’ video, linked from article, March 2024).


·        An under-publicised document reveals the assumption that ULEZ income will be replaced by road pricing income by 2026… as part of his plans ‘to save the planet’.


·        He claimed that about ULEZ, even though his own document gives the game away that it will have no effect!  It is quite clearly about making money! Expanding ULEZ was identified as a ‘new source of revenue’ worth over £100m a year in 2021 (p63).





·        In 2021, TfL explicitly reviewed a ‘pay per kilometre’ road pricing scheme as a ‘new source of revenue’ (p56) – and liked it. Revenue potential was about £900m/year net - twice the then-current take on ULEZ/LEZ/Con Charge.


·        TfL is already employing contractors to develop ‘road user charging systems’, but we are told that ‘the technology isn’t ready yet’…. it was tipped as being ready for the ‘pay per kilometre’ scheme in 2025 (p56). Any reasonable person would see flannelling from a Mayor treading softly as he’s desperate to get re-elected?


·        TfL has already spent at least £2.9m on developing ‘distance-based road pricing’ (pay per mile or km?). Yet we are being told that ‘no decisions have been made’.  


·        As there are ‘no formal conclusions’ from the work done so far, nothing to share in Freedom of Information responses to concerned members of the public!  Perhaps unsurprisingly, TfL makes use of a Steering Group to oversee direction of all TfL road user charging schemes, but they do not record minutes of their discussions! (p24/30)


·        However, clues were given in the 2022 consultation, during which ULEZ got almost all the coverage and the Mayor’s road pricing ambitions were conveniently much under-publicised. We can see why – the following self-satisfied hype from TfL is just insulting to our intelligence!


…further action will be needed in the long-term to achieve the necessary levels of traffic and emissions reductions to continue to improve Londoners’ health and to meet net zero carbon targets to tackle the climate emergency. This may require the introduction of London-wide road user charging by 2030 at the latest, as set out by an Element Energy analysis of a 2030 net zero target for London. The analysis notes that all scenarios would benefit from London-wide road user charging being introduced as early as possible”.






·        Even less publicised was the assumption that ‘road user charging’ would be in place by 2026… in a long and very technical consultation document known as ‘the Jacobs Report’. The Jacobs Report also gives the game away that the proposed scheme will “have a negligible beneficial impact on carbon emissions in Greater London.”


·        The ‘necessary reductions’ are 27% of our motor vehicle journeys and are based on a strange report from the Element Energy consultancy [2022]. For some reason, the Mayor insists on aiming for the ‘Net Zero’ fantasy world target by 2030, 20 years ahead of national government.


The bizarre Orwellian webpagePathways to Net Zero Carbon by 2030” bleats:

Fairness must be at the heart of the net zero pathway... We must ensure we are supporting those on low incomes from the costs.


Yet the ULEZ expansion – a stepping stone to London-wide road pricing by getting the surveillance cameras in – will seriously harm many poorer and lower-paid people.


·        There is a possible sting in the tail, a change of tone in response to this? Apart from vehicle-related factors like emissions and distance travelled, TfL hinted that in their brave new world, charges could be based on ‘household income’, ‘where you drive’ and ‘available alternatives such as walking and cycling’.


Yet they have the nerve to pretend that this would ‘’respect privacy’ with ‘the minimum possible collection and use of personal data’. It would be quite the opposite – who decides if your journey to work or the shops is optimum or even ‘necessary’, or whether you should be having a delivery by Ocado or Amazon?


·        Apart from being irrational and irrelevant to road use – targeting income could compromise privacy within a family. We are talking about a ‘Big Brother’ mentality, a bureaucracy getting too big for its jackboots! It makes you wonder how steep the charges will be if journeys are to be taxed off the road to meet the 27% target?


·        TfL has installed thousands of cameras across London to bring in more taxes and fines on drivers. There are issues for population surveillance.





·        The Mayor will work with London boroughs on setting up their own local road pricing schemes (p96 or p49/163). Since-embarrassed and now ex-Hackney Mayor Philip Glanville proposed the borough as a pilot for a local scheme. The City of London is another local authority potentially involved, keen to work with TfL and/or explore a charging mechanism for the Square Mile.


·        By chance, residents in LB Hammersmith & Fulham discovered possible pricing schemes for journeys in local areas and on local roads. These would be policed by ‘geo-fencing’, which the council is encouraged to accelerate. The draft air quality document was notably written for them by Poppy Lyle, a senior manager in the Mayor’s GLA environment division.





Khan is a hypocrite - in his 2021 Manifesto (p33), he crowed:

“The Tories tried to force an extension to the Congestion Charge to the North and South Circulars….But I stood firm and stopped [it] from happening.”


He has also – repeatedly - let off lavish fireworks displays when it suited him and been enthusiastic about cannabis farms in California, which would hardly be great for air quality if replicated over here. The smoke is highly carcinogenic and even growing the plants produces emissions (BVOCs). Finally, he has tried to push more people to use the tube, even though the air quality has been recorded as better at street level.



khan fireworks




·        Is it ‘London’s toxic air’ or ‘London’s toxic Mayor’, please, Mr Khan? In the shorter term, he wants to justify increased taxes on poorer drivers on ‘climate change’ and ‘air quality’ grounds. It’s funny that if Greater London’s air is so filthy (as he claims), why is he always urging people to walk and cycle in it?

·        The suggestion that around 4,000 Londoners die a year as a result of air pollution is a bit of a try-on. Visit here for a rebuttal on the deaths, which the GLA has admitted are a ‘statistical construct… not real people’.

·        Mayor Khan has previously eyed the £500m of car tax (VED) Londoners pay to the Government every year, “If the Government refuses, I will ask TfL to consider other ways of raising income”. He has recently levied a charge of £20 on council tax bills for TfL, which has been pushing for unpopular schemes like LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods) that force traffic onto main roads. They make drivers travel further, burning more fuel and increasing emissions.

·        “A million tickets a year are set to be issued to speeding motorists in London following a massive expansion of 20mph limits and the roll-out of new LASERcam 4 speed cameras” (Evening Standard, 25.2.22)






The Fair Deal for the Motorist campaign was launched in 2009 as

a private initiative. It has exposed plans from the EU and levels of

UK government that together add up to a War on The Motorist.

It is solidly non-party i.e. lets you support your own candidates.


Please help spread the word and - better still - support us in calling

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