Government ‘demands’ extension of congestion charge zone
19 October, 2020 / by Matt Smith
It is widely reported that the Government is demanding the extension of London’s congestion charge zone to the North & South Circular, as part of the conditions for rescuing Transport for London financially for the second time this year. The transport authority’s income fell off a cliff with the onset of the coronavirus.
The congestion zone, currently only in central London, may become the new normal to drivers well outside the city centre next May, according to reports by the BBC, Sky News and various national newspapers.
TfL and the Government are currently in talks over emergency funding. According to the Mayor of London’s office, if TfL is forced to accept the condition, the whole outer area of London would be added. Vast new areas of London, including Chiswick, will have to pay the £15 a day congestion charge for driving within the zone.
Deputy Mayor Heidi Alexander said neither she nor Sadiq Khan could “see how it’s right to charge people £15 to drive a mile from Wandsworth to Clapham, or Catford to Lewisham … That in effect is what the government has told us they want”.
Anyone who lives inside the zone, and has a registered vehicle to that address, used to be able to apply for a 90% discount on the charge. Applications for the discount are currently closed as part of the Government’s TfL bailout conditions from May.
The conditions demanded by the Government are also reported to include widespread public transport fare increases and the scrapping of remaining free travel entitlements, such as those for children and pensioners.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking another £2bn to pay for Transport for London up to April 2021, to cover lost revenue.
The proposals have drawn out some strong opinions on social media.
Manick Govinda said ‘London will be in permanent lockdown if the congestion charge is extended further north and south of the capital. These proposals are insane.’
Michelle Davies writes: ‘Extending the congestion charge to the north and south circulars will mean thousands of key workers won’t be able to afford to drive to work within London any longer, including doctors, nurses and teachers. It will be devastating for so many’.
The London 2021 Mayoral candidate for the Conservatives, Shaun Bailey, hit out at his own party’s plans on Twitter.
I can't be clearer. I oppose any extension in the Congestion Charge. In terms of hours, in terms of days, in terms of size.
This hurts London's businesses when we can least afford it. https://t.co/gsEgChy1Da
— Shaun Bailey (@ShaunBaileyUK) October 16, 2020
Petition against extending the congestion zone
A petition against the extension of the congestion zone has already reached more than 45,000 signatures on Change.org at time of writing, quickly closing in on the organisers’ next target of 50,000.
You can view the petition by following the link below.
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See also: London going into tier 2
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