Ross Clark has written a great piece for the Telegraph urging the Prime Minister to over-rule the crackpot schemes of local politicians to impose more taxes on motorists, such as Sadiq Khan’s planned extension of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone. He thinks it would be popular and might even revive the Conservative’s flagging fortunes.
Four London boroughs, as well as Surrey County Council, have launched a judicial review of the Ulez extension, alleging that Khan deliberately targeted his consultation at younger, non-motorists in an effort to swing the results in his favour – and then ignored evidence that two thirds of respondents were against the scheme. But why should it be left to borough councils to fight it out with Khan? The proliferation of low-emission zones, congestion charges and “15-minute cities” demands that the Government step in and formulate a national policy on what councils can charge for and how they can charge for it.
I wouldn’t object if the Government replaced fuel duty and road tax with a national road pricing scheme, which charged us all a simple, easy-to-understand tariff according to where we had driven – and then billed us in a civilised manner. As electric cars start to eat into income from fuel duty, such a system is probably inevitable.