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Introducing the Road Pricing project

London is always at the forefront of doing things differently. From the now widespread availability of bubble tea to the introduction of the first congestion charge in 2003. But traffic in London, with the resulting congestion and pollution, is a problem that isn’t going away without some more help.

54% of Londoners support per-mile road pricing. Support is higher among drivers than non-drivers.

Source: Pay-as-you-drive: The British public’s views on vehicle taxation reform

In 2022, research revealed that a majority of people in London support replacing the current system of vehicle taxation and tolls. Per-mile road pricing is supported by the majority of respondents as a potential replacement. Interestingly, the policy is more popular with drivers than non-drivers.

These intriguing results sparked questions about who were the voices of Londoners behind the statistics? Since road pricing could work in a number of ways, what were some of the benefits that chimed with people? What were some of the concerns?

The Road Pricing project was devised to find, record and share the views of Londoners about road pricing. You can visit the site now to add your voice.

The project is open to any London resident to make a submission, but before the project is completed we’ll make sure we have collected enough voices to represent the full diversity of Londoners. You can help us do that by sharing the project with your networks.

The submission form asks for a picture or video. This can by anything you like. It could be a nice selfie, a short clip about how road pricing could improve your neighbourhood or journey, a photo of what you’d like to see more or less of on your street as a result of road pricing or something creative.

If per-mile road pricing is new to you and you’d like to learn more, a number of reports are available.

Why only London?

Since Greater London is the only city to be seriously looking at developing a road pricing policy at the moment, it made sense to focus the project on London.

About Transport Good CIC

Transport Good CIC is the environmental justice non-profit. We run events and programmes to make sustainable transport more equitable.

In 2022 we ran the first cohort of Futurechangers, the groundbreaking work experience placement programme that will increase the diversity of environmental activism.

We have been funded by the Foundation for Integrated Transport.

If you like our work, we accept donations.

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Road pricing resources

Here are some useful reports from think tanks, government papers and other resources about per-mile road pricing.

2023

Resolution Foundation, June 2023

Where the rubber hits the road

2022

Campaign for Better Transport, September 2022

Pay-as-you-drive

Social Market Foundation, May 2022

Miles Ahead

Policy Exchange, February 2022

A New Deal For Drivers

2019

Centre for London, April 2019

Green Light

Government reports and responses

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Timetable recovery: c2c

This is a comparison of the number of trains scheduled to be run by rail operator c2c in the December 2019 and May 2023 timetables.

Monday to Friday

Trains arriving at Fenchurch Street

Trains departing from Fenchurch Street

Take action

These cuts to trains have been caused by the cut in funding from the Treasury and Department for Transport to the operator.

Trains have been reinstated elsewhere where passengers have complained. Write to your MP to let them know you want to see the full timetable restored.

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Introducing Futurechangers

Futurechangers is a groundbreaking cohort programme that will run for the first time during 2022 in London. The aim of the programme is to increase the diversity of environmental activism.

Young people who might not otherwise consider a career in campaigning, but are more likely to be impacted by the effects of climate change, are introduced to the subject of car dependency and the costs felt by people, the city and the environment.

The cohort receives training over multiple sessions. They are guided in creating sustainable transport campaigns, culminating in a paid work placement at an environmental charity.

For participants

The Futurechangers programme aims to encourage students to think about pursuing a career in environmental campaigning.

Paid campaigning work is fulfilling and offers a range of good opportunities that young people might not otherwise consider as a career path. In addition you get to change the world for the better.

For employers

Cohort members go through a rigorous selection process with training on car dependency and campaigning techniques across six months.

By the time of the placement in April the cohort will be working on their own campaigns in pairs. It is hoped to match pairs to relevant environmental organisations based on the campaign topics.

We’ll provide support to both employers and the cohort ahead of, during and after the placement to ensure everyone gets the most from it.

The placement lasts six days during the first half of April 2022.

Because unpaid internships have been a barrier to taking up work in this sector in the past, the cohort will be paid London Living Wage for their six day placement. We can help with topping up wages if that is an issue for smaller organisations.

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Railway service cuts

Railway services have been cut throughout the UK in response to the pandemic. Despite rising passenger levels many of these services have not been restored. This is a very quick analysis of the immediate response. If you think a service cut is missing, please add it below.

Results so far

Q1. Where did the service run from?
Q2. Where did the service run to?
Q3/4
Q5. Who operated the service?
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Towards a more inclusive environmental activism

We can be better

The virus pandemic has created new threats and opportunities but also put on hold some important work, including our response to climate change. Before the crisis I began exploring ways to make my environmental activism more inclusive.

From years of work as a campaigner I’d noticed that mainstream environmental activism was visibly white and the discourse it was having often referred to costs of environmental pollution and climate change falling disproportionately amongst BAME communities. But often these conversations sound as if people of colour were not there in the room with us. The reason for this I fear is because they often are not. An example is air pollution in London which affects the poorest and most diverse neighbourhoods more than the others. Repeatedly, and I know I’ve been guilty of this, we’ve failed to amplify the voices of those affected and instead refer to people as if they have no voice.

The Black Lives Matter protests brought all this back to the foreground of my thinking.

A mistake, to my mind, of environmental campaigning and its attempts to become more diverse, has been to tentatively invite black and minority ethnic people into the world of paid campaigning. I say tentatively as barriers to entry remain and the burden of potentially being the only person of colour within an organisation is draining and offputting. Far more work needs to be done to identify, connect with and include campaigners of colour.

But environmental activism has demonstrated it is capable of being inclusive. So much work has been done on gender balance and I’m constantly inspired by the high calabre of women in this sector who now occupy senior roles. This shows we are capable of being better and there is no excuse not to be for people of colour. And before anyone reads this the wrong way, I’m not saying there are no people of colour in mainstream environmental activism. What I’m saying is back when I had a desk to go to when I’d look up and around almost all the people I saw were white. You can’t claim to speak for people you do not include.

As I’ve found in other contexts, when you do not create spaces that are inclusive, the people you claim to want to include will organise without you and have their conversations elsewhere.

Last year I was introduced to The Advocacy Academy, a fellowship organisation for young people in Brixton. I’d hoped I might be able to offer the group some help and guidance on environmental activism. I was naïve and when I found out more about their work I saw that they really didn’t need my help. What I found were bright young activists already acutely aware of the environmental and transport inequality they were living with and taking compelling actions on their own.

I came away from meeting this group inspired and with new ideas in mind. How does mainstream (by which I really mean white) environmental activism connect with, celebrate and find synergy with powerful groups like this? And there will be other groups, I have no doubt about that. Because we incorrectly imagine that people of colour are not campaigning on environmental issues when they do not come forward to join white folks. But the truth is they have created their own spaces where they are unburdened by the limitations of white activism.

Reacting to the virus has diverted me from this, but now I’m ready to make my activism more inclusive and respectful of the work that happens in spaces I’m not part of.