Porsche challenges London pollution charge
Porsche has launched a court challenge in Britain against plans by London's mayor to impose hefty pollution charges on high-emissions vehicles entering the city centre.
The German luxury sports car maker lodged papers at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday in a bid to stop Ken Livingstone's proposed charge, claiming the scheme is disproportionate, illegal and unfair.
Under the mayor's plan, from October, people with the most polluting motors - such as sports utility vehicles and high-powered performance cars - will pay a daily charge of £25 ($49.70, €31.75) to drive into central London.
"Not only is this new tax on motorists unfair, it is also a disproportionate and illegal use of power by the mayor," said Andy Goss, managing director of Porsche Cars GB, after the judicial review papers were filed.
"The Porsche case is about protecting London and Londoners from a new tax that will not only fail to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in central London, but also increase congestion and damage air quality."
Livingstone vowed to fight Porsche's action.
"Porsche's self-serving legal action shows their continuing contempt for the views of Londoners," he said. "Porsche should be using its engineering expertise to create low polluting
cars, not its lawyers to oppose the democratic wishes of Londoners. Londoners, not car manufacturers, should be the ones to decide how to tackle pollution in their city. I will vigorously contest Porsche's legal action."
However, the pollution charge may never be imposed.
Londoners vote in mayoral elections on May 1 and opinion polls have put Livingstone's main rival Boris Johnson ahead. The Conservative candidate has vowed to ditch Livingstone's plan. It is the latest scheme targeting London's traffic pollution and congestion problems.
Under the plan, most drivers would continue paying the regular £8 congestion charge, a measure introduced by Livingstone five years ago in a move to ease traffic flows. London is the biggest conurbation in the world to charge such a toll and city chiefs from around the globe have considered copying the idea.