Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

4x4 = Family Car Boom in Suburbs; OFF-ROADERS ARE NOW THE CHOICE OF UP TO ONE IN TWO BUYERS ACROSS CAPITAL

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

4x4 = Family Car Boom in Suburbs; OFF-ROADERS ARE NOW THE CHOICE OF UP TO ONE IN TWO BUYERS ACROSS CAPITAL

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVID WILLIAMS

THEY have been vilified as the scourge of inner-city roads and an environmental disaster in the making.

Critics say they block streets outside schools and intimidate other drivers with their sheer bulk.

But today an Evening Standard survey reveals the astonishing boom in popularity of the off-roader in London. Kingston is the four-wheel-drive heartland, with the vehicles accounting for almost half of all new car sales - despite the royal borough being in the heart of suburbia.

Across London, sales of 4x4s have mushroomed by 51 per cent this year compared with a national rise of 17 per cent. However, the figures infuriate those who insist that 4x4s belong in the countryside.

They provoked fresh calls for offroad vehicles to be hit with heavier taxes in cities, where they churn out higher levels of pollution.

Paris is already considering a ban on the vehicles and Ken Livingstone recently described 4x4 owners in London as "complete idiots'. He said they were "bad for London" and dismissed them as "largely a status symbol".

Figures compiled for the Evening Standard by Black Horse - part of LloydsTSB - show no other borough comes close to Kingston's four-wheeldrive obsession.

Second in the London league is Battersea, where 27 per cent of new car purchases are off-roaders, followed by Putney, Wandsworth and Chingford.

Stephen Tindale, director of Greenpeace UK, said the figures highlighted the need for new penalties to deter four-wheel-drive ownership. "It would be relatively easy to add a premium to the congestion charge," he said.

"There is already scope for variable charging in the way gas and electric cars are exempt and with 4x4s you could go the other way - those who pollute the most would pay the most." Alternatively, said Mr Tindale, London should try a Paris-style ban on the vehicles.

Professor David Begg, chairman of the Commission for Integrated Transport, said that owners should pay higher car tax in urban areas as well as a premium on the congestion charge. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.