Inner London should have “more ambitious” targets for green transport, a former Tory MP standing as an independent mayoral candidate has said.

Rory Stewart, who recently stood down from his Penrith and The Border constituency, said disadvantaged families in outer London should not bear the burden of reducing emissions.

The current Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, wants 80 per cent of journeys in the capital to be by public transport, walking or cycling by 2041.

This would reduce congestion and air pollution, as well as decreasing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to the climate crisis.

Currently, 64 per cent of journeys are by public transport, walking or cycling – with more green journeys in the inner boroughs, where 76 per cent of trips happen in this way.

Londoners will need to make 3 million fewer car journeys each day to hit the Mayor’s target.

But Mr Stewart said the goal could be more ambitious, though it must “keep the city moving”.

He said: “It’s an interesting target but it’s not pushing a huge amount from where we are.

“The challenge for London is making sure that the burden of these things doesn’t fall on lower income families on the outskirt rings of London, outside the North and South Circular.”

He added: “You need a system that works, that recognises that there are some areas of London where there really are not good bus routes, where they’re meandering all over the place, and where there aren’t Tube connections.

“The target needs to be testing but it needs to be very granular too. You can’t have the same target for Romford that you have for Kensington.”

Mr Stewart said he would be open to steeper targets in the inner boroughs.

He said: “It seems to me fair enough that in central London where there are very good Tube connections and bus connections, and where many people are middle class and quite wealthy, that we can really push hard on this.”

He added: “Setting more ambitious targets for private use of vehicles in inner London is definitely a good thing to do.”

The Mayor claims he has more than doubled the length of cycle lanes across the capital since he took office in 2016, with 116 kilometres in place by May this year.

He wants 70 per cent of Londoners to live within 400m of a safe cycling route by 2041.

But some of the new cycle paths are rebrands of existing routes, with little change to the infrastructure of the road.

Mr Khan also introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone in April this year, covering the same area as the Congestion Charge.

It will be expanded to the North and South Circular roads in 2021. Drivers must have low emissions vehicles, or pay £12.50 a day to drive in it.

During the first six months of the zone there were 13,500 fewer heavily polluting cars on the roads, and air quality improved by a third.

A spokesperson for Sadiq Khan said: “The Mayor has one of the most ambitious plans of any city in the world to get more people walking, cycling and using public transport.

“This includes record investment in new cycling and walking infrastructure all across London, helping Londoners of all backgrounds lead healthier lives.

A central part of the Mayor’s plans have involved ensuring that public transport fares in London are genuinely affordable, after years of fares hikes under the previous Mayor.”

He said the Mayor’s Hopper fare – keeping all bus and tram journeys within one hour at £1.50 – and new bus routes for outer London were helping hit the target.