Monday, 24 May 2010

Western Congestion Charge to go by Christmas

Boris Johnson will look to scrap the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge by the end of the year he confirmed today.

Scrapping the extension would lose Transport for London between £50- £70 million in revenue each year.

However, the Mayor also proposes raising the charge to £10. TfL estimates that this will bring in an additional £15 million.

Under the proposal, West Londoners would also lose their residents discounts, meaning that some additional revenue may be found there.

However, the announcement comes on the same day as the coalition government announce £683 million worth of cuts to the transport budget, with even more to come.

And with parts of Crossrail under threat, the prospect of yet more stinging fare rises looks more and more likely by the day.

Labour's London Transport spokesperson Val Shawcross said today that:

"It's hard to see who wins from this. Cyclists, bus users and local residents will all suffer from more congested roads and dirtier air while TfL will throw away millions in valuable revenue at a time of financial hardship. Next time the Mayor talks about TfL's finances or the need to put up fares, he should reflect on what a big mistake he is making."

The Lib Dems on the other hand welcomed the proposals. Their London Assembly group leader Caroline Pidgeon said:

"I welcome the final removal of the Western Extension from Congestion Charging which has penalised an area quite different to the initial Congestion Zone."

Under the proposals less polluting cars will be able to use the zone for free. Green Assembly member Jenny Jones said:

"The commitment to rewarding less polluting vehicles is welcome, and was agreed under the previous Mayor"

But added that:

"It is difficult to see why Boris is meddling with a policy that has been proven to reduce traffic at a time when London is struggling to meet European limits on air pollution and faces major fines. This is a big backwards step on air pollution."

Under Boris's plans, the charge would be withdrawn on Christmas Eve of this year.

You can make your views known about the proposals by completing the statutory consultation launched today.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to Boris the impoverished people of Kensington, Chelsea and Notting Hill will be saved from paying the Congestion charge on their 4x4s. YOu can't say he doesn't look after the needy during a recession!

Anonymous said...

£55 million of lost congestion charge revenue will require an extra 20p per (slower, more unreliable due to increased congestion) bus journey in order to balance TfL's books.

It is interesting how Thatcherites like Boris prefer 'communism of the roads' and want to allocate scarce resources using queues rather than the more efficient market.

Or perhaps these ideas are only good where they screw the poorest in society over?

prj45 said...

So, what happens if the consultation comes out in favour of the WEZ?

AdamB said...

He'd have to make a decision.

Appealing of Ealing said...

Hope we're all keeping well

Tode said...

The original consultation for the extension of the charge to the western area was a complete joke. It went something like this: "Are you in favour of good or evil?"

Anonymous said...

@Tom

And even with that unbalanced consultation (which did not make the implications for congestion, air pollution, CO2 emissions and bus fares of abolishing the WEZ clear, or the fact that costs far exceed benefits and the
measure represents abysmal negative VFM for people to express an informed opinion) there were more people in favour of keeping the WEZ in one form or another!

But I guess lots of vested interests did respond to the "please tell us if you hate the congestion charge" part of the consultation.