UK: Porsche wins London emissions charge battle
Porsche Cars Great Britain has claimed victory in its fight against a huge increase in the London congestion charge proposed by a former mayor that would have affected all of its model range.
"The signature of a consent order by an administrative court in London has finally swept the plans of the former mayor, Ken Livingstone, to introduce an unfair and disproportionate daily charge of GBP25 [about $US50] per driver in central London off the table," Porsche said.
The agreement also included the award of legal costs to the automaker.
"Porsche will donate these costs, expected to be a six-figure sum, to the British youth charity Skidz," Porsche said. The Skidz project trains at-risk young people as car mechanics and reintegrates them into society.
The mayor's office confirmed that new mayor Boris Johnston, elected on 1 May, had honoured his pre-election promise to axe proposals for the CO2 charge, which would have charged owners of large family cars - and Porsches - GBP25 a day to drive in the central city congestion charge zone.
"The High Court has now confirmed that the paper work necessary to end the proposal has been completed and the CO2 charge is no more," the office said.
The rise to GBP25 would have hit drivers of Band G vehicles - that emit over 225g of CO2 a kilometre - from October 2008.
The Band A and B discount, which would have resulted in thousands of cars driving in the zone for free and adding to congestion, has also been removed.
"Ending the CO2 charge at this stage means that Transport for London will save approximately GBP10m that was still due to be spent on implementing the scheme," the mayor's office said.
Porsche GB managing director Andy Goss said: "We were always confident that our legal case was right and that we would win in the end. The charge was clearly unfair and was actually going to increase emissions in London.
"Porsche is proud to have played a decisive role in striking down such a blatantly political tax increase targeting motorists."
"As the decision on the C02 charge is being overturned Porsche is entitled to have its legal costs paid by Transport for London," the mayor's office said.
Johnson said: "I am delighted that we have been able to scrap the GBP25 charge, which would have hit families and small businesses hardest. I believe the proposal would actually have made congestion worse by allowing thousands of small cars in for free.
"I am very pleased to hear that rather than adding to their own coffers, Porsche have decided to use the costs we are now required to provide them with to support Skidz. That is a generous decision."
The mayor's office noted that the discount for alternative fuel vehicles would remain in place and the existing congestion charge scheme was not affected.