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Red Green Ken v Porsche in battle of the polls

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Mayor of London Ken Livingstone last night called on German prestige car builder Porsche to drop its lawsuit against the new CO2-based "Congestion Charge" bands planned for the capital.

Both Porsche and the Mayor claim to have conducted surveys proving that the public is on their side.

The Guardian reports that Mr Livingstone reckoned his Ipsos-Mori poll carried more weight than the Porsche ICM poll, saying that two-thirds of Londoners backed his plan for swingeing charges against higher-CO2 cars driven in London. The new £25 band would affect almost all of Porsche's models sold in the UK.

"Luxury car manufacturers such as Porsche should take the hint and put their energy into reducing the carbon emissions of their cars instead of pursuing pointless legal action against this ground-breaking policy," said Mayor Ken.

Porsche said that was cobblers, with its own survey revealing that three people in four were against the new CO2 charging regime.

"The Porsche ICM poll shows that a big majority believe that this charge is totally unfair and is more about squeezing money out of motorists than trying to help the environment," a company spokesman told the Graun.

Using a judicial review in an attempt to overturn policy set by elected government is a ploy more normally favoured by the likes of Greenpeace than their adversaries in the motor trade. (Greenpeace, for instance, used the courts to force a recount on the government's consultation regarding a new generation of UK nuclear power stations).

Porsche's resort to the legal system could indicate that the firm believes the Mayor likely to win the upcoming city elections. Both the Lib Dem and Tory opposition candidates have criticised the carbon congestion charge plans. ®

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