Porsche's basic argument goes like this: the emissions the fees on gas guzzlers in London will prevent in a year will be equal to the emissions generated at Heathrow airport in anywhere between four minutes and four hours. What Porsche isn't tackling in this debate is that the name of the fee is a "congestion charge." While taking a car off the streets is a car off the streets no matter what comes out of the tailpipe, the Transport for London organizers have decided that swapping out dirty cars for cleaner ones is the right move. There's no question that a lot of CO2 enters the sky at Heathrow, but that's no excuse for spewing it in downtown London. Instead, it should be a call to clean up the vehicles at Heathrow.
C-charge tax won't reduce CO2 emissions
Following its launch of a judicial challenge against Mayor Ken Livingstone's emissions related congestion charge, Porsche today releases an examination of the expected CO2 savings. Using Transport for London's own figures, the savings expected in an entire year from the emissions charge will be equal to the emissions from Heathrow between 4 minutes and at most 4 hours.
Commenting on the figures, Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, said, "Under closer examination these figures show the negligible environmental benefits of this tax. The emissions saved are a fraction of the amount of the CO2 pumped out every day at Heathrow. Calling this tax an emissions charge is a misnomer. Not only is this new charge an unfair tax on motorists and families, it is a tax that will do nothing to reduce emissions or congestion in London."
The release of this examination comes two days after Porsche announced that it is seeking to make an application for judicial review of the proposed extension in the congestion charge, which will see the cost of driving some cars in the capital rise from £8.00 a day, or just 80p if they are residents in the congestion zone, to £25.00 a day - an increase of over 3000 per cent. Porsche is seeking a reverse of this action based on the disproportionate nature of the charge.
Porsche also announces today that it has opened a website for the legal case where families and motorists across London who will be impacted by the new tax can get more information and add their name to a petition against the charge. The website is available at www.porschejudicialreview.co.uk.
C-charge tax won't reduce CO2 emissions
The Mayor Ken Livingstone's new £25 charge on larger cars will have practically no effect on the environment and looks more like an attempt to get additional revenue out of Londoners. The CO2 saved in the first year of this scheme could be as little as 4 minutes of emissions from Heathrow Airport.
About the Mayor's proposals
* Mayor Ken Livingstone is planning to increase the congestion charge for larger "Band G" cars – cars that emit more than 225 grams of CO2 per kilometre.
* The cost of driving a Band G car into the congestion zone will increase from £8 to £25, a 213 per cent increase.
* Congestion zone residents who drive Band G cars will lose their exemption. Their charge will now rise from just 80p to £25, a 3025 per cent increase.
* Cars in the lowest A/B bands will be exempt from all charges.
What this means for the environment
* Speaking at the press conference announcing the new charge, the Mayor admitted that his new charge would have a "small" impact on emissions.
* According to TFL's report on the proposed emissions related congestion charging, the savings expected in 2009 in CO2 emissions is expected to be anywhere from 100 to 5,000 tonnes per year. [Transport for London, Report to the Mayor Following Consultation with Stakeholders, Businesses, other Organisations and the Public, January 2008, p 50]
* Even Friends of the Earth stated "that CO2 emissions could increase as a result of the proposals." [Transport for London, Report to the Mayor Following Consultation with Stakeholders, Businesses, other Organisations and the Public, January 2008, p.145]
* According to the Aviation Environment Federation, Heathrow emits 13.9 million tonnes of CO2 a year. [Aviation Environment Federation]
* The savings expected from the emissions related congestion charge will be equal to anywhere from 4 minutes to 4 hours.
* According to the AEA Energy and Environment report, the new charge will not affect general air quality through reducing either NOx or PM10. "Emissions related congestion charging would have a negligible impact on pollutant emissions in 2009. Given that this is the case, it is anticipated that there would similarly be a negligible impact on air quality, and hence the pollutant concentrations would remain the same as for the baseline scenario." [AEA Energy and Environment, "Combined Impact Assessment of Proposed Emissions Related Congestion Charging," 17 August 2007]
What this means for congestion
* As a number of observers have pointed out, exempting A and B band cars from the charge could actually increase congestion as people trade their larger cars for more than one smaller car or who now decide it was now cost effective to drive into central London.
* According to the AEA Energy and Environment report to Transport for London on the proposed emissions-based congestion charge, "In the longer term, it is possible that the emissions related congestion charging proposals could lead to increases in overall traffic levels within the Congestion Charging zone, with consequential small negative impacts on air pollution." [AEA Energy and Environment, "Combined Impact Assessment of Proposed Emissions Related Congestion Charging," 17 August 2007]
* London First, the business organisation that seeks to attract inward investment into London, has called the Mayor's new plan "daft".