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back to article Mayor Boris to cover Porsche costs in CO2 tax brouhaha

London's new mayor, the former knockabout media rascal and MP Boris Johnson, has ended the city government's legal dispute with German luxmobile firm Porsche. Johnson has scrapped plans set by his predecessor Red Green Ken Livingstone for hefty £25 daily charges on all higher-CO2 cars entering the capital, and agreed to repay …

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Go on the Boris!

To be clear: I don't drive, but I do live in London (Zone 2).

The £25 charge was absurd - dreamt up by a man who has been unable to divorce his 'green' policies and their aims from his personal hatred for anyone who doesn't conform to his notion of a fair society.

Seeing this quashed so absolutely and so quickly by Boris restores my faith in "Action This Day!" rather than his predecessor's obsession with self interested committees, self interested committees and, oh yes, wasting vast sums of taxpayer's money on self interested committees.

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What car does Boris drive?

I was quite pleased when Green Ken did this, and am bermused that it's been reversed..

I wonder what car Boris and his mates all own? Do they come into this higher Co2 bracket, for which there is really no need for..

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Jon
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legal fees

If the payout is to cover legal fees why can they give it to charity, hmmm maybe they exagerated and their costs did not actually reach the £400k in which case why do us taxpayers have to foot it.

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Ken's Idea was good but poorly implemented.

It should have been been in smaller steps.

£8 to £25 with nothing in between was ridiculous.

It also should have been phased in over the course of a few years.

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Flame

Really, hitting the disadvantaged?

Last time I checked the congestion charge was in the congestion charge zone. What the hell is a family doing driving their people carrier into central London for?

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Taxes and Greenery

If you have a tax called a congestion charge that's supposed to reduce congestion then keep it that way and if you think there should be a sliding scale make by size of the vehicle (this would be the relevant measure in terms of clogging up the roads), not the CO2 number.

If you want to tax cars that use emit a lot of CO2 then tax fuel and be honest about it, but be ready for people to be pissed off.

On the other hand if you just want to get reelected, are running a divisive campaign and there are no more votes to be found by being rude about Jews then perhaps you can come up with a half-arsed tax that hits 7 year old estate cars but claim it's on Chelsea Tractors.

We need an icon for shifty politicians - Snake Oil?

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Dead Vulture

Ordinary people and their people carriers?

Surely one major benefit of the congestion charge is that you get fewer "ordinary" people with their huge fucking 4x4s driving through the narrow streets of London town?

People carriers are good cabs for 6 people, and they are damned useful in rural areas, but there is no reason for "ordinary people" to be driving one in central London, and £25 per day is a pretty good disincentive.

Let's not beat about the bush. By "ordinary people" the author means "ignorant middle-class people". This has nothing to do with hitting the *poor*. The poor don't drive stupidly ostentatious gas-guzzlers. They can't afford to.

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Love this guy

How refreshing is it to have a mayor who is exactly what he says on the tin.

Honest. Everything he said he would do he is doing.

Go Boris, we love you.

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Hear, Hear!

This statement and I quote:

"As such, like all flat taxes, you could see Livingstone's plan as hitting the less well-off disproportionately hard", has to be the most insightful statement around taxes that I have seen for a while.

The constant problem with "taxing the rich" is that they can afford the best accountants the country has; it is a very simple principle:

I have 1 million pounds I want to avoid paying as much tax as I can on, I can give £100k per year to an accountant who will ensure that at least 95%+ of that million is protected.

Inland Revenue Tax inspectors earn about 30-40K pa and are quite good there is no doubt but the smart ones jump ship because they can see the writing on the wall, (30-40k pa or 100k per client!).

Ergo Inland Revenue and new taxes can never compete with the rich and its always the mid-income earners that always end up paying for society, hence why I am glad the like of red Ken are not in power, (although there are hundreds of his ilk dotted around the mass that is the UK government).

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"People may, quite understandably, want to see their money spent on things that they voted for,"

Didn't they vote for Johnson? Presumably they knew he planned to scrap this...

It's a crazy world. We have EU paratchiks denyong their countries referenda because they want to "increase public representation" or what have you, we have the government spending billions on a failing bank whilst claiming to be prudent, hiding half their accounts off the book s with PFI whilst claiming to be open and accountable, and we have this green politician deciding rather at random that Boris actually promised the exact opposite of what he said he was going to do. Madness. I know, I know, politicians are expected to lie... but why? Why can't they tell the damn truth for a change? Why do we tolerate the sort of behaviour from the political class that we wouldn't even tolerate in primary school kids?

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Black Helicopters

Political ubercorrectness

Does anybody know why the video "The Great Global Warming Swindle" suddenly evaporated from Google Videos?

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No shit, Sherlock!

"....whereas to ordinary motorists driving people carriers or whatever, regular £25 mulctings are serious money..."

Also factor in that your better off can afford to buy a new, lower band car to take advantage of the government's "tax breaks for the rich" (aka "green" taxes) whereas those struggling to make the Sierra last another year so they can afford the latest hike in bin tax / fuel tax / whatever tax get f***ed again.

Indirect taxes are inherently unfair as they hit the poorest hardest, most, if not all, of the alleged "green" taxes are indirect, therefore........

It's no wonder that so many big companies are falling over themselves to support green initiatives. The fat-arsed, overpaid bastards who make the decisions stand to win if this stuff really takes off. Big time.

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Taxation != Green-awareness

Congestion charges are nothing but another form of taxation. There is nothing to do with the green agenda here. It's all about screwing money from people who need to use their own cars to get around. If there was a sensible alternative to personal transport, people would use it, because nobody seriously believes that driving in London (or any other city for that matter) is a pleasurable experience.

Thankfully, someone has finally owned up to Livingston's transparent money-grabbing antics, and the whole thing has been shelved. For now at least.

Yes, we need to take action to prevent climate change from throwing us all off the planet, but we have to address wastage rather than genuine usage of resources. Government's insistence that we have to be taxed out of being able to do anything is more about them shoring up their blighted self-serving interests than it is about actually trying to do some good whilst living out their worthless existences.

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AC

victory :D

boris ftw :D

now on to disposing with gordon clown ...

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@Jenny Jones

Well.. that's not very nice, especially considering it's going to charity!

Personally, I think it's VERY unfair for penalise someone for having a nice car... This isn't Los Angeles you know, it's London. This is good ol', solid London. I want to see Porsches, TVRs, and Lambos on the streets. If JJ had her view, we'd be all driving pedal cars from Bugsy Malone!! (Would be fun for ...oooo.. 30 feet or so..)

As for BJ: Goodon him for sorting out the farce that Red Ken started!

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London would make no money from a £25 congestion charge

Because by now pretty much everyone knows how to avoid it legally at minimal cost. Same applies to the £8 charge.

It makes sense to scrap this as legal costs would just mount and Porsche would likely be the victors.

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Nice, sliding scale

There's already a nice, easy measure that acts as a sliding scale of disincentive for having a gas guzzler. Petrol at £1.20/litre.

This is a far more fair and direct tax than the proposed changes to the road fund license or congestion charge. If you have a Porsche but don't drive it often, you are doing less damage than a Mini driven 100 miles per day. High fuel prices skew the balance the right way.

However, we need to find a way to get rail charges and service levels sorted out fairly so that we can shift more cargo and people back onto the trains.

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Re: What car does Boris drive?

Yes I'm sure that Boris is risking political outrage in his new post where he's being scrutinised by EVERYONE just to save himself £25...

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Porsche and VW group

don't porsche own a wad of the VW group anyway?

the VW group which has it's mitts on audi/skoda/seat/bentley/bugatti/lamborghini, so are they really losing out or not on this?

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Congestion charging OK if...

.. the public transport were adequate, safe and a reasonable cost-effective replacement for driving. When I worked in London, I spent 3 hours a day travelling by car - the train and tube alternative would have been more than 4 hours a day. Now in Germany, there are plenty of trams, trains and buses. In my case, a commute by tram plus a short walk takes 10 minutes.

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Re: legal fees

@Jon:

It's not called a "goodwill" gesture for nothing.

Porsche can see it's taxpayers money, and it would be bad to just pocket it.

Therefore they give it away and stump up the £400,000 bill themself.

Obivously once the bug bushy eye-brows man gets his hand on it, the charity will get about £5, but that's besides the point.

£400,000 is nothing to a company of that size. Remember they also own 31% (I think?) of VW as well!

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Paris Hilton

Gasp! - politician does what he promised ..just like Nu Liebour ..NOT!

Well done Boris. Ken set up the situation and it could have cost Londoners millions. You bailed the people out of Kens mess .

I hope that a politician doing exactly what he promised sets a trend. Oi Gordon..where's our referendum (that you promised) then!

Paris - because thats wher eI wanted the Olympic hop skip and jump festival to go. Bankrupt some other city....

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The price of freedom...

...is having to deal with the problem of penalising heavy use of limited resources without creating a society that discriminates against the poor.

New Labour obviously doesn't care so much if poor people suffer more than rich people. But what are the alternatives? Rationing car use on a per person basis (eg everyone can go into London by car three times a week)? Or a sliding scale of charges based on income (eg millionaire Porshe owner should pay £1000 a day for driving in London)?

A lot of this may come down to cost rather than fairness. The UK style road congestion scheme and the tax bands for engine size scheme are easy to set, cheap to administer and bring in loads of tax. Other schemes like rationing car use are difficult to regulate and may end up costing money rather than making money.

When people accuse New labour of no longer represent the working man and woman, this is exactly the sort of thing they are talking about. It will be interesting to see what effect the Conservative Party's new 'touchy-feely' principles has on their policy making.

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A life of crime

"...a charity which offers disadvantaged kids training in car maintenance and repairs..."

I can't possibly see these kids using these skills in a life of crime. Not at all. In no way.

Ahem.

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Got your lawyer's number handy?

Your characterization of Boris looks libelous to me - a "knave" is a wrong-doer. It is not a synonym for "entertainer".

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Fleabite?

Speaking as one of the Porsche owning mega-rich (chortle), £9k a year weighs up fairly significantly against the £28k I spent on my 10-year-old 911 - the same as my mate paid for his new Audi TT. Never assume, Lewis, you'll make an ass out of, well, yourself.

Not that I would drive into London anyway, it's a mugs game.

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Isn't it a congestion charge?

I thought this was a congestion charge not a polution charge. It was "sold" to the populace as a congestion charge, surely to suddenly change it to a polution charge is misrepresentation.

If they want to change it to a polution charge, name it accordingly and administer it accordingly then fair enough.

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Misunderstanding

People are easily misled by the press. the heralding of these moves as a '4x4 tax' etc are very misleading..

Under the new rules a lot of small family cars including some cheap people carriers like the Chevrolet Tacuma would have to pay this higher rate. These cars are aimed a people with families and little money.......

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Re: Ordinary people and their people carriers?

You're forgetting of course that since the original CC was introduced, no-one in their right mind willingly drives in/through London if there is any other practical alternative.

All this did was increase profits for Ken

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Was a stupid idea of a tax.

They are giving the money to charity as a publicity stunt, but its nice of them none the less.

Anyone who liked this absurd tax was, is, and forever will be a bloody idiot.

Personally I think that the best way to deal with the green meanies is to burn them at the stake with nice polluting non sustainable tropical hardwoods soaked in crude oil andpiled high with poor quality smokey coal.

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Congestion charges/Porsche damages

I don't know how many people posting here go anywhere near Trafalgar Sq during the day but if it's a congestion charge it isn't working.

I wonder what reaction there would be to charging everyone £25?

I'm fairly sure one massive car park in the west end offers to pay your congestion charge. Which suggests to me it's not high enough (remembering the idea is to reduce congestion).

Rather than distort arrangements through tax, use structural (ha ha) reform. Block off through routes except for buses and taxis (let me make a list: Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park Corner, Aldwych, Aldgate thinggummy, somewhere near Kings Cross, Vauxhall Cross.

@Jon

It seems like their case was watertight in which case it was irresponsible to defend.

That's the real question for taxpayers or perhaps to ask whether there was there another motive for defending?

Their costs will have been "taxed" (assessed, not HMRC) They donate them to charity, probably get tax relief in their legal costs (comes off bottom line) they get tax relief on donations to charity. And they get to look good rather than conniving petrol heads, and the choice of charity is in line with current thinking on youth (yoof if you insist) issues.

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AC
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@Ordinary people and their people carriers?

Mate, seriously, shut up.

"ignorant middle-class people" ... ignorant about what? The completely nonexistant effect driving their cars has on the oh so precious environment?? Who are you to call someone ignorant because they chose to purchase a particular vehicle? I just bought myself a Focus ST because I want one, not because of how much it spits out the back. If you want to buy a car based on what it emits then by all means go ahead that's your choice, but you can't insult someone because they didn't buy the same car as you.

this tax was aimed at exploiting the normal man, which you could argue are the poor in comparison to others in london. The normal man who has a job in london and needs {or hell, just wants} to drive in was to be raped for his earnings.

Thank god for boris and long may his reign continue.

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Anonymous Coward

on the Skidz

Many years ago in Cleveland, Ohio, it was said that you could locate a particular vocational high school by plotting the location of car thefts. A canard?

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@Paul McCourt

Uh I guess you don't remember the Western Extension to the Congestion Charge area?

It includes North Kensington, which is the area where the Notting Hill Carnival takes place which *is* a disadvantaged area. Not many Porsches around there, and definitely a lot of families. Whether they can all afford MPVs or cars I don't know. But I'm sure everyone here likes the option of having a car as opposed to using Bus and Rail because of additional "taxes" on the car.

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To all the twats going on about people carriers:

Why do they want to drive them in London?

Because they own them you fucking nonces. Should they buy two cars simply so they can drive about YOUR London, hmm? What if they have a family they need to cart around and, gasp, surprise, they also have to drive the car to work?

Only the British and the American "intellectual left" could dream up punishing people for not being like you OVER A BLOODY CAR. Hey, that tosser's not drinking Starbucks, let's get 'em!

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Linux

legal fees

If it went to court and then to the EU which would rule in favour of Porsche, the legal fees would have been in the millions not hundred thousands.

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the disadvanted?

Surely the truly 'less well off' are really those people who can't even afford cars and so must travel on public transport.

I'm sorry but anyone who can afford to have a car in London can't be that badly off.

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Long live Boris!!

I own a Porsche and work feckin hard for it. As for “ignorant middle-class people” I prefer, hard working middle class couple with no kids!!!

The £25 c-charge was a disgrace.

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@Mark

Actualy, I think you will find, he is well known for rideing a bike, but without the need to show off like Ken...

@Jon. It is called a matter of principal.

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CC Modelled on Monopoly's Supertax

"I'm fairly sure one massive car park in the west end offers to pay your congestion charge. Which suggests to me it's not high enough (remembering the idea is to reduce congestion)."

The idea was NEVER to reduce congestion. The idea was to raise a tax to which the mayor would have direct access and be able to buy votes as needed indeed, the congestion charge revenue forecasts were always calculated on the basis that traffic levels would NOT fall. When they did fall (although only a little) there was panic at the mayoralty and they had to raise the charge to £8 (despite explicit promises not to do so) and even then it only just covered its own massive costs. The whole scheme has been nothing but a giant earner for Capita and international ego booster for Comrade Ken.

I'm absolutely amazed that Boris has lived up to his promises thus far. We all knew he was a 'different' politician, but did any of us expect him to be quite like this? Good work, BJ.

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Did any of you ever bother to read the original proposals?

The proposed £25 congestion charge band was extremely unlikely to have hit *any* poor people at all, as the proposal was spectacularly misrepresented by most of the media.

The 25 quid band *only* applied to cars over 3-litres if they were registered before 2001; which any genuinely poor people wouldn't be able to afford the fuel for anyway. There are *no* Ford Sierras with >3 litre engines, the largest I'm aware of was the XR4x4 and that was a 2.9; there are also very few "normal" famliy cars that have >3 litre engines.

It also applied to Post-2001 cars with a >225g/km CO2 emissions, and poor people aren't going to be driving those either. Seen many genuinely poor people in 51-plate BMW X5s lately? I know I haven't...

I'm very disappointed with this news. It's a bad day for the environment, and it's a bad day for London too.

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@Sean Ellis

"However, we need to find a way to get rail charges and service levels sorted out fairly so that we can shift more cargo and people back onto the trains."

They need to increase public transport charges substantially, until travelling on the trains, tubes and buses in London is only for the wealthy. Businesses will then have to up sticks and move out of the city because no one will work for them located there, which will decrease conjestion, overcrowding and rental costs and make people happier and healthier and better off financially because they won't have to spend hours a week commuting.

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Shows how green the 'new Tories' really are

Although I expected this, it's still disappointing. While it's no surprise that any Tory is pro-environment as long as it doesn't cost the rich anything, I was hoping that Ken would have put some sort of contract in place which had already put the wheels in motion.

So, no surprise from Boris. What does surprise me, however, is the large percentage of selfish, arrogant people who have commented. Like him or not, Ken was right - there is no need to drive these cars through central London. In fact let's be honest, anyone who buys one is making a selfish 'screw you all!' to the rest of the world, so I say 'no, screw *you*'... burning-up our resources so you can drive your pasty, flabby arse around town in your manhood-extension mobile. Grow up, you selfish, arrogant arseholes. I breate-in the crap your oversized ego-car puts out, you're far more likely to hit cyclists and pedestrians, and you're almost universally knobs. Celebrating this? Yeah... celebrate while you can - we'll all be walking once you burn all our oil.

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Coat

fait accompli

So the Greens trailed the main parties badly in the recent City elections which ousted Livingstone. What a surprise to find their eco-ripoff taxes disliked by the public who they always claim to represent. Or NOT represent!

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@Dominic Tristram

Couldn't agree more. The last few times I've visited London, I've done so on the train, and enjoyed the experience. Only 12 months ago it was cheaper to drive my 3 LITRE car all the way to London, pay the congestion charge and park on a meter in Hyde Park Square. Driving a car SHOULD be more expensive, and driving in London in uneccesary, and should be unaffordable. Force me (and petrol heads like me) out of our cars, and we might have an improved society.

(guilty petrolhead)

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@Dominic Tristram & AC

There are around 35million cars in the UK. All driven by 'knobs' yeah? All penis extensions? Driving a car is a 'selfish' and 'arrogant' act? Christ, someone needs to grow up, you got that right.

And Mr AC above, the fact that you clearly neither live nor drive in London pretty much disqualifies your opinion on this subject, don't you think?

What is it with these neo personal transport Nazis? No-one is forcing you to drive if you don't want to. Please try and hold on a little tighter to reality.

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@AC

"Personally I think that the best way to deal with the green meanies is to burn them at the stake with nice polluting non sustainable tropical hardwoods soaked in crude oil andpiled high with poor quality smokey coal."

Sir, you are a genius. Best comment I've ever read on El Reg!

Antivironmentalism ftw!

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Yes "they" voted for Johnson...

You'll find the "they" in question were the extremely affluent outer London boroughs, not the inner city which ironically is where this measure would actually apply. People living in the inner city are 90% exempt anyway and, as someone else here pointed out, if you are running a car in central London you're not so poor anyway!

Boris is a bumbling cretin surrounded by far worse cronies than Ken, I cringe when I think of the bloody mess he's going to make of London in the next four years. The only downside I can see to the congestion charge is that it's original incarnation was as a regressive tax, this was just in the middle of being fixed when along comes Worzel fucking Gummidge and shits it all up. Yes you guessed, I'm still finding it difficult to accept he won :-/

Ironically, after having the balls to make some very strong and controversial moves over the environment I reckon it was the greens and the puritanical left that lost it for Ken. Those that I've spoke to all voted for someone else or abstained, despite the fact Kens stance was probably closer to theirs than any of the other mainstream candidates.

There was also the horrific 2 year right wing press sleaze campaign but what, (short of lynching those nasty little fuckers, anyone?) can we do about that eh?

I mean the idiots barely been in power 5 minutes and he's rolling over and paying Porsche, an Italian luxury car maker, half a MILLION pounds of Londoners money! Whatever you reckon to Ken this wouldn't have happened on his watch, he'd tear their bleeding gizzards out before breakfast.

BTW: To the person earlier who was trying to infer some anti-semitic motivation to the higher charges... I live on Stamford Hill and A) Some of those enormous decrepit smoke beltching Volvo's ARE an environmental hazard and B) The congestion charging zone doesn't start for another 2 miles anyway.

Really this law should be a no brainer... CO2 emissions to one side the air quality here is terrible esp round rush hour, so what should we do about it?

A) Levy a charge on the 30,000 dirtiest least efficient most polluting vehicles, get them off the road and re-invest the money in better public transport?* or

B) Scrap the charges so the environmental costs of Tarquin's Aston Martin can be externalised directly into the lungs of the - often poor - inner city residents.

Not only do I think they should bring the extended charge in, I think they should at least double it for those selfish morons you see navigating Picadilly Circus in their Humvees! If you don't like that, get a f****** bike!

Roger Heathcote

* What makes it so sad is that It was working so well... congestion has gone down over 15% and we've got 3 new bus routes in my area. The revenue this would have generated could have made an enormous difference to London's public transport infrastructure in the coming years. If you're driving a Porsche in central London you CAN afford £25 a day to do it and at the end of the day you might feel a bit less of a selfish c*** if you knew you were helping subsidise something a bit more eco-righteous while you were screetching and roaring about trying to look important.

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Anonymous Coward

Why people carriers

I don't understand the point of a people carrier. It's just a van with seats in the back. When I was a kid everyone had a 1.6 Estate to cart round families and shopping, some of them even had fold up or clip in seats in the back, with seatbelts. Why nowdays do we need a 2.5 - 3.0 litre van? Have families got fatter?

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Paris Hilton

AC 15:46

The 25 quid band *only* applied to cars over 3-litres if they were registered before 2001; which any genuinely poor people wouldn't be able to afford the fuel for anyway.

Wrong and er wrong.

My 2.5 litre reg'd in 2003 would have been hit for twenty five big ones ( I checked on the website - so I know). AND I have had it converted to LPG so it only emits Calvin Klein's obsession for men vapour.

I have no animus over this because I don't drive it into Lunnon preferring a 600cc machine of death instead. I reserve it for out of town use.

Whilst not being poor or rich I don't see how making me scrap a decent car with 20K miles on the clock is going to be green. Especially as it costs peanuts to run these days. Then green eco mentalists are just closet communists aren't they. Wanting us all to be equally poor and living in a hole in the ground. Well I decline the kind invitation.

Paris - because if the eco nutjobs take over this country I may just have to re-domicile! Plus she may like the leathers!

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