Porsche challenges London congestion charge

LONDON Thu Apr 3, 2008 8:30am BST

A congestion charge pay reminder sign is seen in London February 19, 2007. REUTERS/Alessia Pierdomenico (BRITAIN)

A congestion charge pay reminder sign is seen in London February 19, 2007.

Credit: Reuters/Alessia Pierdomenico (BRITAIN)

LONDON (Reuters) - Luxury carmaker Porsche launched a legal challenge on Wednesday to a tax on gas-guzzling cars proposed by London mayor Ken Livingstone who is campaigning for a third term in office.

Livingstone wants to raise the eight-pound daily levy on all cars driving in the city centre to 25 pounds for those with high fuel consumption, in a drive to cut CO2 emissions and fight global warming.

Porsche called the plan unfair and disproportionate as it filed its application for a judicial review in the High Court.

"This is an illegal use of power by the mayor," said Andy Goss, managing director of Porsche Cars GB.

"The Porsche case is about protecting London and Londoners from a new tax that will not only fail to reduce CO2 emissions in central London, but also increase congestion and damage air quality."

The carmaker began its campaign against the charge in February and says Livingstone has so far failed to adequately address any of the issues it has raised.

The mayor, who is standing for re-election on May 1, says he will contest any legal action.

"Porsche should focus their attentions on cutting CO2 emissions from the cars they produce rather than on pursuing this pointless legal action," he told reporters last month.

Livingstone's main opponent in the election, Conservative Boris Johnson, has said he will scrap the plan to increase the charge.