Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS
LEADING car makers are considering a legal challenge to proposed changesto the congestion charge.
They believe that plans to hit drivers of bigger-engined cars with a [pounds sterling]25-a-daytoll will seriously damage business. It could particularly harm prestige cardealers based inside the charging zone.
Sports car manufacturer Porsche said today it had not ruled out legal action.
A spokesman for the firm, whose UK headquarters are in Reading, said it wasstudying Transport for London's 230-page report to Mayor Ken Livingstone on theproposals before making a decision.
Other leading makers are understood to be considering a legal challenge,possibly asking for a judicial review before the scheme is introduced inOctober.
Today, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said: "We would besurprised if car manufacturers were not studying the Mayor's new congestioncharge scheme in detail and considering all their options to safeguard theirbusiness." Andrew Davis, a spokesman for Porsche, said TfL had agreed to onemeeting but snubbed attempts at further talks in the run-up to Mr Livingstone'sannouncement.
Last year, the firm sold 8,500 vehicles in Britain, many with engines in bandG, which will attract the [pounds sterling]25-a-day charge.
"It is an additional tax on families and cars in London," said Mr Davis. Askedif Porsche was considering legal action, he said: "We would not rule out anypossibilities." Land Rover managing director Phil Popham said: "We have realconcerns about the proposals, which we believe have immediate costs for ourbusiness but doubtful benefits from an environmental perspective." TfL said itwas aware of manufacturers' concerns and the Mayor had considered these beforeproceeding with the scheme.
The [pounds sterling]25 charge, compared with [pounds sterling]8 at present, will be imposed on cars with CO2emissions of 226 grams per kilometre or above in a bid to reduce pollution. …