London Cycling Campaign slams Mayor over congestion charge

Decision "a giant step backwards for transport policy"

by Tony Farrelly   November 27, 2008  

London traffic © Jank1000 | Dreamstime.com

The decision to scrap the western extension to the congestion charge zone will be bad for London, and that’s according to the mayor’s own consultation document. Congestion and pollution will rise, while revenue will decrease.

This is the third decision by London's Mayor Boris Johnston, a cyclist himself, that will adversely affect London cyclists, already this month the borough's cycling budgets have been cut, and motorbikes are to be allowed into bus lanes.

The mayor's consultation document ‘Have Your Say on the Future of the Congestion Charge Western Extension’ (Sept 2008, p18) states, "Traffic levels would rise significantly, leading to increased congestion. Also some increases in CO2 emissions and pollutants from vehicles. Net revenues for investment in transport would fall by about £70m per year."

Koy Thomson, chief executive of LCC said, “The world envied London for the courage of its congestion charge. Scrapping the western extension means more pollution, £70 million less for improving transport, and more congestion: does the mayor think this is what the people who spoke against the charge really wanted? This move will increase London’s contribution to climate change, and exacerbate London’s health and obesity crisis. It has been terrible failure of leadership.”

“November has seen a triple whammy for cyclists: first, motorbikes in bus lanes; second, slashing the borough cycle route budgets; finally, scrapping the cycle-promoting western congestion charge. Shrinking the zone risks reversing the associated increases in cycling, causing public health to decline and casualties to rise.”