Sadiq Khan eyes SUV parking charge referendum in Paris but has 'no plans' for London tariff

London Mayor Sadiq Khan at Bond Street underground station earlier this month (PA)
London Mayor Sadiq Khan at Bond Street underground station earlier this month (PA)

Sadiq Khan’s office has played down speculation that London may introduce a parking charge for sports utility vehicles (SUVs).

A referendum is set to be held in Paris on whether to triple parking charges for 4x4 style vehicles to stop them polluting the French capital, and the Mayor of London is said to be keeping a keen eye on developments.

Mr Khan’s Parisian counterpart Anne Hidalgo said the tarrif would be a "form of social justice".

Parisians will vote on Monday whether they want the new rule to be enforced and Mr Khan said the Greater London Authority is watching closely.

"We always examine policies around the globe," he told the Guardian.

"I’m a firm believer in stealing good policies. Rather than inventing [new policies] badly, if other cities are doing stuff that works, we will copy them."

Mr Khan added: "SUVs take up more space and we know there’s issues around road safety, we know there’s issues around carbon emissions and so forth.

"We know some councils in London are taking bold policies in relation to parking fees, in relation to your tickets and so forth. It’s really good to work with those councils."

However, later on Friday, his office clarified that Mr Khan is not considering an identical SUV parking restriction for London.

A spokesperson told the Standard: "There are no plans to introduce an SUV parking charge, nor does the Mayor have the powers to do so.

"The Mayor was making the point that leaders across the world are exploring innovative ways of tackling air pollution and improving road safety, and the mayor continues to monitor these."

On Friday a British charity called for wealthy drivers to be restricted from using SUVs in London, which are designed for rough terrain.

Three quarters of SUVs, such as the Range Rover Sport and the Volvo XC40, are bought in urban areas despite the models being built for towing heavy loads or for rugged ground.

SUVs are among the heaviest of polluters among customer cars driven in London, but newly bought models can still qualify to be driven in ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) areas.

Hirra Khan Adeogun, co-director of the climate charity Possible, said: "It's the richest residents of London who drive the biggest and dirtiest cars, and the poorest who live with the consequences.

“That's why it's right to bring in a charge to deter these gas guzzlers which produce up to 25 per cent more CO2 than other cars.

“The Mayor should press on with these plans, cleaning our air, cutting our carbon, and calming our streets."

On Friday, Mr Khan apologised to the family of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, who died aged nine in 2013 as a result of London’s polluted air. The family have lobbied for "Ella's law" to become established to guarantee the right to clean air.

Mr Khan is one of several candidates looking to become London Mayor when elections are held in May.