Sadiq Khan(PA MEDIA)

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is reportedly contemplating the implementation of a parking charge specifically targeting sports utility vehicles (SUVs), drawing inspiration from a similar initiative proposed in Paris. The French capital is gearing up for a referendum to decide on tripling parking charges for 4×4 style vehicles as a measure to combat air pollution.

While Khan’s office initially downplayed the speculation, asserting that there were “no plans” for an SUV parking charge in London, the Mayor later acknowledged his keen interest in monitoring global policies. He expressed openness to adopting successful measures from other cities, as reported by The Guardian News.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo views the potential tariff increase as a “form of social justice,” intending to address environmental concerns associated with SUVs. Parisians are scheduled to vote to determine the fate of this proposed parking rule, and Khan has expressed his interest in observing the outcome.

In an interview with Evening Standard, Sadiq Khan underscored his belief in adopting effective policies from around the world, stating, “I’m a firm believer in stealing good policies. Rather than inventing [new policies] badly, if other cities are doing stuff that works, we will copy them.” He acknowledged the issues related to SUVs, including their impact on road safety and carbon emissions. Khan commended certain London councils for their proactive policies on parking fees and tickets.

However, his office clarified that while Khan is not planning an identical SUV parking restriction for London, he remains committed to exploring innovative approaches to tackle air pollution and improve road safety.

This development follows a call from a British charity for restrictions on wealthy drivers using SUVs in London. The charity argued that SUVs, designed for rough terrain, are predominantly purchased by urban residents, contributing to increased pollution. Despite being intended for towing heavy loads or rugged terrain, three-quarters of SUVs, such as the Range Rover Sport and Volvo XC40, are bought in urban areas. SUVs are among the heaviest polluters among customer cars driven in London, even though newly purchased models may qualify to be driven in ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) areas.

Hira Khan Adeogun, co-director of the climate charity Possible, supported the idea of imposing charges on gas-guzzling SUVs. She emphasized that the largest and dirtiest cars are often driven by the wealthiest residents, resulting in adverse consequences for the less affluent population. Adeogun argued that introducing charges could help deter these vehicles, which emit up to 25% more CO2 than other cars.

The discussion surrounding SUV charges aligns with Sadiq Khan’s broader efforts to address air pollution in London. Recently, he publicly apologized to the family of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a nine-year-old who died in 2013 due to London’s polluted air. The family has been advocating for “Ella’s law” to ensure the right to clean air.

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