22 December 2010
Plans to abolish the Western extension of the Congestion Charge Zone will ruin London’s green credentials, according to sustainable transport group Campaign for Better Transport.
Campaign for Better Transport’s London campaigner, Richard Bourn, said: “London’s reputation as a leader in progressive urban transport will be seriously damaged by the abolition of the Western Extension. It was partly built on the success of the Congestion Charge and now the payment zone is being dramatically reduced. London’s standing will suffer.”
When the Western Extension is abolished on Christmas Eve the area covered by the Congestion Charge Zone will be cut by at least half, and the number of people who live in it reduced by far more than that.
London has seen a seven per cent switch from the car to walking, cycling and public transport in the last ten years and is the only major western city that has enjoyed a substantial decline in car use. The introduction of the Western Extension resulted in 30,000 fewer vehicles a day in that area. Removal of the zone means that is likely to be reversed and traffic will increase.
There will be a wide range of other undesirable impacts from the abolition of the Western Extension. According to Transport for London’s (TfL) own estimates, emissions of air pollution and carbon dioxide will all increase and TfL will lose £55 million of its present income.
Richard added: “The effects of the removal of the Western Extension will not be confined to central London, the whole of the capital will suffer. At the same time as Transport for London will lose £55 million, the boroughs will have roughly the same amount cut from their grants towards walking, cycling and road safety schemes. This is a big move in the wrong direction.”