With Parisians voting for higher SUV parking fees in a backlash against large cars , can the same happen in Central London?
Not surprisingly after hearing the results from Paris on SUV (Sports Utility Vehicles) parking, many wondered whether it can be done in London. Certainly in Central London boroughs like City of Westminster and Camden, is the short answer. As TfL does not have charge over all the roads and streets of London in the same way as London Councils do – only the red routes – so such an initiative would have to be lead naturally by critical Central London boroughs using their parking powers already.
Now SUVs are bigger and heavier cars and are quite simply incompatible with our goal of reducing global emissions as well as improving our air quality. The majority of SUVs are petrol-powered and consume about 20 per cent more fuel than the average car. Even if the car is electric or part electric the same sums apply as heavier cars require more energy. Bigger cars don’t just emit more, their tyres produce more particulate pollution as well. They also take up more parking space as any pedestrian and cyclists can tell you when getting pass them! And, to make matters worse, SUVs cause significantly more pedestrian fatalities than other cars. You only have to look at the tragic case of SUV crashing into an end-of-year tea party last summer at a girls’ preparatory school in Wimbledon, killing two school girls tragically. So the case for additional parking charging for SUVs is pretty clear cut.
We also need not go through TfL consultations like done so for congestion charging at the beginning of the century to get it implemented even when the first Mayor of London Ken Livingstone clearing already had a mandate to under take this from winning the 2000 Mayoral contest. As there is right now the City of Westminster council is having a consultation on their emissions-based parking charges to tackle poor air quality who drive into the city, this is the best opportunity to see whether there is scope to do so in Central London, much quicker than we imagined.
So lets get on with this consultation for our views and opinions not just on the emissions based parking charging generally but how it should apply to SUVs as well. The consultation ends in three weeks after the launch on the 25th of January with the links here. On CO2 missions along, SUVs should be paying a lot more their parking in Central London.
So in short it can happen sooner than we realise in Central London, as SUVs do little of the off-road driving they were designed for in the first place.
A brief version of this blog has been published in Westminster Extra this week