Sadiq Khan has backed an ‘innovative’ plan in France for a higher parking charge for SUV owners.
The Mayor of London, who has previously been spotted being driven around using a convoy of luxury Range Rovers, appeared to praise the plan set out by his Parisian counterpart, Anne Hidalgo.
The proposal to hit SUV drivers with higher parking fees will be subject to a referendum tomorrow. Ms Hidalgo, the socialist mayor of Paris, announced the plan in December, declaring: ‘It is a form of social justice.’
Mr Khan, who can sometimes be seen being ferried around the capital in his £300,000 taxpayer-funded armour-plated Range Rover, said heavier vehicles ‘take up more space’ and create ‘issues around carbon emissions and so forth.
When quizzed on Ms Higaldo’s policy, he told The Guardian: ‘We always examine policies around the globe. 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.’
Sadiq Khan has backed an ‘innovative’ French plan to inflict higher parking charges on SUV owners. The referendum in Paris will be held tomorrow
Mr Khan is pictured being driven around London in his Range Rover with a convoy in 2020
Mr Khan, who has been heavily scrutinised for his hated Ulez scheme and the amount of knife crime since he became mayor, added: ‘We know some councils in London are taking bold policies in relation to parking fees, in relation to your tickets and so forth.’
In north London, Islington council charges parked cars depending on the weight of a motor, while Lambeth is looking at similar measures.
A spokesman for Mr Khan said that the mayor had ‘no plans’ to introduce an SUV parking charge in the capital, adding: ‘The Mayor was making the point that leaders across the world are exploring innovative ways of tackling air pollution and improving road safety, and the Mayor continues to monitor these.’
Susan Hall, the Tory candidate for London mayor, accused Mr Khan of a ‘war on motorists that show no sign of slowing’.
She told The Telegraph: ‘For him, it’s all about the money. This highway robbery can only be stopped by showing this highway robber the door and voting him out of office on May 2.’
But one British charity has called for wealthy drivers to be restricted from using SUVs in the capital. Three quarters of SUVs are bought in urban areas despite them being designed for rough terrain.
Hirra Khan Adeogun, co-director of the climate charity Possible, told The Standard: ‘It’s the richest residents of London who drive the biggest and dirtiest cars, and the poorest who live with the consequences.
‘That’s why it’s right to bring in a charge to deter these gas guzzlers which produce up to 25 per cent more CO2 than other cars.
The Mayor of London is pictured in his Range Rover and being followed by his security team in 2020
‘The Mayor should press on with these plans, cleaning our air, cutting our carbon, and calming our streets.’
The backlash against SUVs and monster pickups dates back to the 2000s, when the suburban rich began migrating en masse from sedans to king-of-the-road behemoths previously used for rough terrain.
Dubbed “stock exchange tractors” in Norway or “suburban assault vehicles” in Britain the car-trucks became much-maligned status symbols.
A key breakthrough in the bid to regulate emissions in big cities came in 2003 when London’s left-wing mayor Ken Livingstone introduced a congestion charge for vehicles entering the city centre.
A year later he took aim specifically at SUVs, criticising those who used them to drive children to school as “complete idiots” and saying the vehicles should be banned from the school run.
In the past few years, a group called The Tyre Extinguishers has been drilling holes in the tyres of dozens of SUVs in the UK.
Anne Hidalgo (pictured), the socialist mayor of Paris, announced the plan for an SUV parking charge in December, declaring: ‘It is a form of social justice.’
Khan was speaking at an event in which he apologised on behalf of the Greater London Authority to the family of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah – a nine-year-old girl who died in 2013 as a result of the capital’s polluted air.
Ella lived just 80ft from a notorious pollution ‘hotspot’ on the south circular road in Lewisham, south-east London – one of the capital’s busiest roads.
Asthma attacks left her struggling to breathe and she had to go to hospital on numerous occasions.
Just a few weeks after celebrating her ninth birthday, she suffered a fatal asthma attack. In December 2020, a coroner concluded that air pollution contributed to her death.
She became the first person in the world to have it recorded as a cause of death on her death certificate.