Home Life & Style Pay-per-mile car tax schemes must address 'serious concerns over privacy'

Pay-per-mile car tax schemes must address 'serious concerns over privacy'


A possible future pay-per-mile car tax charge must consider “serious concerns over privacy”, according to a new study looking into the future of road pricing in London.

The study found there were major worries that technology used in the enforcement of any new scheme could lead to the “invasion of privacy” of road users in a major blow.

It comes after The London Assembly transport committee looked into the concept of a radical change in road fees in their latest ‘Future Road User Charging in London’ study.

Speaking to industry experts, many highlighted fears over how personal data could be used and whether tracking devices would be installed.

The committee has recommended that stakeholders across London be informed of any changes and that any new scheme protects privacy from the outset.

The committee’s report reads: “A key theme from the Committee’s evidence gathering was concern over individual privacy.

“This was raised by experts, organisations and individuals. There was significant concern expressed over invasion of privacy as part of the enforcement of any future road user charging scheme, through measures such as automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras; in-vehicle GPS tracking; or via a smartphone app.”

The concept of a new pay-per-mile scheme has been on the radar for a while with Mayor Sadiq Khan previously looking into launching a system.

The scheme would see motorists charged for every mile they travel instead of a flat fee based on how much pollution their car generates.

It means those who travel fewer miles are rewarded with lower fees while high mileage drivers such as commuters will be forced to pay more.

Back in 2022, previous research commissioned by the Mayor of London suggested a road user charging system could help reduce congestion across the capital.

The Mayor has since ruled out the implementation of a road user charging scheme in London but new analysis has still looked into what could go wrong.

Privacy issues were just one possible problem with industry leaders also raising other queries which needed to be considered before any changes were made.

The report reads: “The Transport Committee set out to look at the future of road user charging in London and the practical issues around the introduction of any new scheme.

“The Committee did not seek to determine whether or not a new scheme should be introduced, or to propose what this might look like. Rather, the Committee wanted to understand and present the key issues any future Mayor or Government considering a future road user charging scheme would need to consider.

“These issues include scheme design and objectives; fairness and simplicity; provision of alternatives to driving; individual privacy; collaboration with stakeholders; public engagement; and the impact on key groups.

“We present this report with the aim of bringing these issues to light, and to the attention of any future Mayor considering a new scheme.”

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