The MP for Dartford has called proposals to charge people driving into any part of Greater London “catastrophic” and asked the Department for Transport for clarity.
During questions in the House of Commons, MP Gareth Johnson asked the Transport Minister Chris Heaton-Harris MP about the proposed charge known as the ‘Greater London Boundary Charge.’
This comes after it was revealed that a feasibility study is due to start, with a view to introducing the measure in two years’ time.
The Greater London Boundary Fee would see those driving more polluting vehicles entering London charged £3.50, and could rise to £5.50.
Non-London residents would be charged to drive into the city region, with an estimated 1.3 million vehicle trips made from outside London into the capital every weekday.
The Dartford MP said: “What discussions has my Rt Hon Friend had with the Mayor of London over his proposals to charge my constituents in Kent £3.50 to drive into the neighbouring London Borough of Bexley.
“Does he agree with me that this would have a catastrophic and disproportionate impact on places like Dartford that border London?”
Mr Heaton-Harris said: “I thank my Honorable Friend for his question, there are always lots of conversations going on between Transport for London, The Mayor and the Department.
“Transport in London is devolved to the Mayor of London and TFL and it is because of decisions that the Mayor has made it has found itself saddled with massive debts and unable to deliver infrastructure projects, leaving it in a weak position even before Covid raised its ugly head.
“The Government, a tax-payer therefore has agreed two extraordinary funding finance packages for TFL worth over £3billion to ensure the continuation of public transport services in this great city.”
Mr Johnson followed up by saying that the charge would have a “dramatic and very costly impact on Dartford” and could mean Dartford residents travelling to neighbouring Crayford to go shopping or drop someone off at the station would have an addition fee to pay.
“Some roads in Dartford are impossible to exit without going in to Bexley (e.g. Bowmans Road, Coppice Close and Stonehill Woods Park) so are people living in these roads expected to pay every time they drive out of their roads?
“There are many people living in Dartford near to the border with Bexley who would be hit with this charge on an almost daily basis.”
He also mentioned Joydens Wood, and called the proposal “mad”, as well as adding that Sadiq Khan should drop the divisive idea immediately.
“This is a charge which could be imposed by the devolved London Mayor without any say from people who will have to pay the charge and that is totally unacceptable for Dartford.
“Millions of people who live close to any London Borough and cross the border for whatever reason will bear the brunt of this proposal.”