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Dartford MP calls for new law to stop 'catastrophic' London driving charge

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson is proposing a new law to stop plans to introduce a "catastrophic" charge for people driving into London.

In January, Mr Johnson and fellow Dartford Conservatives slammed the plan to charge people driving into the capital, proposed by the Mayor of London, as "catastrophic and mad".

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson. Photo: Parliament TV
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson. Photo: Parliament TV

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s office is looking to charge all vehicles registered outside of the capital £3.50 every time they cross the boundary into any London borough.

Now Mr Johnson is pushing for a Ten Minute Rule Bill - ‘Road User Charging (Outer London) Bill: A Bill to provide that the Mayor of London may not impose charges for driving in Outer London; and for connected purposes’ - which aims to change the law to prevent the introduction of the levy.

Mr Johnson said: “The proposed Outer London Congestion Charge would be catastrophic for the residents of Dartford and for hundreds of thousands of people who drive into Greater London for any reason. It is aimed at vehicles registered outside of London and so will hit London’s neighbours the hardest, but it will also impact on businesses based in outer London as far fewer people will travel into the capital to use them. It therefore will create a financial wall around London.

“The proposed daily charge of £3.50 would amount to more than a thousand pounds a year for those crossing the border on a daily basis. The border with Greater London is not neat, it runs through residential roads and thousands of people would be hit by this charge just for driving out of their own road. This proposal would impose a form of taxation on people who have no say on who the London Mayor is so it is quite literally a form of taxation without representation or accountability.

“This is the reason I am introducing a bill to stop the London Mayor from being able to introduce this charge.

“I recognise this bill is unlikely to progress into a law change immediately, however I hope it highlights a key issue and sends a clear message to the London Mayor that residents in Dartford will not sit and wait for an unfair, undemocratic tax to be imposed on them.”

The bill will be introduced in the House of Commons on Tuesday, April 13, when Mr Johnson plans to say the proposed charge would have a negative impact on residents’ day-to-day lives, and will hit key workers hardest.

He said many people cannot always use public transport due to shift work, and notes over half of London’s Police Officers and Firefighters live outside of Greater London.

Last month the government confirmed it does not support the proposal for the congestion charge.

The Mayor of London's office insists the charge is needed and has said previously: "If the government does not agree, other ways of raising money to overcome the unprecedented financial challenges TfL faces as a result of Covid may be needed."

It says a Greater London Boundary Charge for non-residents could reduce congestion and emissions whilst encouraging more use of public transport as well as provide funding for investment in London’s transport network.

Read more: all the latest news from Dartford.

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