Plans to increase congestion charges for 'Chelsea tractors' were inveiled by London's Mayor yesterday in a move aimed at discouraging the use of vehicles producing high levels of carbon emissions.
Ken Livingstone said he was in favour of lower charges for 'greener' cars but suggested the current £8 cost for entering the capital could rise to £25 for "environmentally damaging" vehicles.
The Mayor said he had asked Transport for London to draw up proposals to amend the congestion charge scheme.
"The congestion charge has been a huge success in reducing traffic levels and supporting the public transport system through the revenue raised and improvement to bus reliability.
"I now want Transport for London to bring forward plans to build on the success of congestion charging to encourage drivers in London to purchase a low-emission vehicle.
"My aim is to see the cutting of carbon emissions and the protection of our environment at the heart of the scheme."
Angie Bray, London Assembly Conservative Leader, warned that the move could leave families stranded and damage small business.
"Cutting pollution is a good thing but this change will hit small businesses and families, both of whom have to use larger vehicles because of circumstances.
"Mr Livingstone is now shifting the focus away from cutting congestion and on to raising money for the Mayor's other congestion-causing transport projects. Reducing the charge during the period when the roads are quiet would be a much better way to cut congestion and therefore emissions.
"We all want cleaner air in London but this could be a very painful way forward."