Porsche claims new Congestion Charge will increase CO2 by 182,000 tonnes

Porsche, a company that is in a court battle with London Mayor Ken Livingstone about the proposed new £25 Congestion Charge for high emitting cars, has unearthed an interesting report. Produced by King’s College, never publicly released by Transport for London (TfL), and only discovered following a specific request, it reveals that the new emissions-related congestion charge is estimated by TfL’s own consultants to increase CO2 in Greater London by 182,000 tonnes. Porsche says that this not only contradicts the Mayor’s claims that his charge will reduce CO2, but also directly contradicts claims made by Transport for London.

In a report prepared for TfL by King’s College London’s ‘Environmental Research Group’ which used models to assess the impact of the new charge on emissions, the new charge is predicted to create a “very high disbenefit” not only for CO2 but also for NOx, NO2 and PM10, all crucial air quality components..

Porsche claims that the report also shows that should the Mayor’s proposal go ahead there will be an increase in CO2 emitted in Greater London in each year from 2009. By 2012, research shows that in Outer London the increase in CO2 will be nearly 184,000 tonnes, with just 2,200 tonnes saved in Central London giving a net increase of 182,000 tonnes. The report indicates that the increase is largely caused by increased car mileage outside of the congestion charging zone as a result of the new charge. These findings directly contradict both the Mayor’s and TfL’s claims..

All figures previously publicly released by TfL with regard to the impact of the new charge on CO2 emissions, including during the consultation process, related only to the position within the congestion charge zone. TfL has never publicly released estimates taking into account the effect on the whole of Greater London. Instead, they suggested in their ‘Report to the Mayor following consultation’ that the position in Greater London was difficult to assess; other documents provided to the Mayor accepted that if the position outside the congestion charge zone was considered, then this “could reduce the CO2 benefits.” Not only does the King’s report assess the position, it makes clear that it could be far worse than merely a reduction in CO2 – in fact, it predicts a significant increase in CO2..

Commenting on the release of this report, Andy Goss, Managing Director of Porsche Cars GB, said, “We always knew the environmental impact of this unfair tax would be minimal, now we know it will make matters worse. The Mayor and TfL need to explain why this report was not disclosed and why they want to increase taxes on motorists that will increase CO2.”.

This research was in part used by TfL as they took the figures from the King’s report for NOx and PM10 directly from it; however, its findings in relation to CO2 emissions were not revealed and the full report has never before been released. .

The King’s report estimates the total impact on CO2 in both Central and Outer London, and shows that “most of the emissions impacts happen in the outer location and this is a direct result of the high car traffic flow in the outer zone and the change of the vehicle km in this location.” Because of this new charge, drivers are likely to increase their mileage outside of and around the zone and thus increase their emissions. .

“It seems absolutely clear that the report shows that not only have Mayor Livingstone and TfL not presented all of the information to the public about the impact of his £25 charge, but that they have also created a new tax on motorists that will do the exact opposite of its stated goal,” Goss continued..

Whether Porsche’s view about the resultant emissions is correct or not, perhaps Porsche’s real main concern is that the new Congestion Charge is going to allow a huge number of sub-120g/km cars into London for free, thereby creating more congestion to slow down anyone driving a Porsche.