London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced a new draft strategy that could see London’s motorists charged based on the distance they cover. The “pay per mile” idea would replace the current congestion charge and is the latest in a series of measures designed to reduce pollution in the capital.

The strategy advocates a more sophisticated system for charging drivers based on how much they actually use the roads and is designed to reflect a variety of factors, including distance, emissions, time, road danger, and various other metrics. The details of just how much drivers would have to pay, and the mechanisms for doing so, have yet to be discussed.

Current measures

The current system requires any car entering the designated congestion charge zone to pay a flat rate of £11.50. The congestion charge has been in place for 14 years now, and has undergone several expansions and price hikes since it was first introduced. 

Other measures include the low emission zone, which was introduced in 2008, and the ultra-low emission zone, which will come into force in April 2019. 

The mayor proposes that regardless of the new pay per mile scheme, the current measures will remain “under review”.

Looking to the future 

With London’s population set to pass ten million people over the coming decade, the ultimate objective is to deter motorists from driving within the capital and to push them towards public transport options instead. 

Sadiq Khan told reporters that he aims to reduce the overall number of car journeys made within London by approximately three million per day and to increase the proportion of trips made by public transport from the current level of 64 percent to a target of 80 percent. 

The consultation period will continue until October 2017.


First pay-per-mile road charge under consideration in London