Congestion Charge could extend to cover 4 million more Londoners

Congestion Charge could extend to cover 4 million more Londoners
The London Congestion Charge may be drastically extended to the North and South Circulars to help save Transport for London (TfL).

The move could see motorists with the most polluting cars charged £27.50 to drive for a day in the capital – £15 for the Congestion Charge and a further £12.50 if vehicles fall short of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) requirements.

Almost four million more Londoners will live within the proposed extension that has triggered debate among politicians.

“The government has demanded the extension from Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, as part of a multi-million pound bail out for Transport for London (TfL). Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pinned the cash problem on Khan.”1

Johnson told the Commons on Wednesday: “Any expansion of the congestion charge or any other measure taken to improve the finances of TfL are entirely the responsibility of the bankrupt current Labour Mayor of London.”

The Prime Minister told Labour MP Catherine West: “the current Mayor of London had effectively bankrupted TfL before coronavirus had even hit and left a massive black hole in its finances.”

Mr Khan responded by declaring that the Prime Minister had “lied.”2

Earlier this year the cost of the Congestion Charge rose from £11.50 to £15 and its hours were extended from 7am–6pm to 7am–10pm. The fees that previously only applied on weekdays have also now been rolled out to the weekend.

Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander said: “Neither the Mayor nor I can see how it would be right to charge people £15 to drive a mile from Wandsworth to Clapham, or from Catford to Lewisham, from October of next year … that is in effect what the government has said they want.” 3

RAC Head of Roads Policy, Nicholas Lyes said: “Expanding the Congestion Charge zone to the north and south circular areas would encompass a huge geographical area and would hit drivers and businesses hard in the pocket at the very worst time, with the pandemic severely impacting travel habits and finances.”

“Drivers in London have already faced hikes in the existing Congestion Charge zone this year, as well as an increase in its hours of operation, so the introduction of further charges is totally unreasonable.”

A host of cash-generating measures have been put forward to the Mayor, including a new council tax charge in the capital, regardless of whether residents use public transport.

Khan told the TfL board that he intends to “stand firm and fight for a fair deal for Londoners.”


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