Monday, 24 May 2010

Western congestion charge zone: Gone

Transport for London (TfL) has begun a statutory public consultation on a number of proposed changes to London’s Congestion Charge today. If approved the last charging day for the Western Extension could be Christmas Eve, with other changes coming into effect on 4 January 2011.

In the consultation the Mayor proposes that the last charging day for the Western Extension would be 24 December 2010. It would be suspended as normal over the festive period then from Tuesday 4 January the Congestion Charging zone will revert to substantially the same boundaries as existed prior to the Western Extension being added in 2007. Those people who receive the 90 per cent Resident’s Discount because they reside within the Western Extension, or immediately adjacent to the Western Extension boundary, would no longer qualify for a 90 per cent discount from the charge.

It is also proposed that a Congestion Charging Auto Pay scheme is set up to make paying the Congestion Charge easier and more convenient. To register customers would need a credit or debit card and to pay a £10 registration charge for each vehicle on the account. Auto Pay would ensure that no Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) would be issued to any registered vehicles, meaning drivers would no longer be penalized for forgetting to pay the charge. Auto Pay customers would also be eligible for a daily charge of £9. Drivers would only be charged for the days they travel within the zone and would be billed each month.

The Mayor also proposes to remove the Alternative Fuel Discount and introduce a Greener Vehicle Discount that would encourage a switch to much cleaner and more CO2 efficient cars. The Greener Vehicle Discount would provide a 100 per cent discount to cars that emit 100g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro V standard for air quality. As with the current Alternative Fuel Discount owners of cars eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount would have to pay a £10 annual registration charge. The Mayor also intends on widening the eligibility criteria for the electric vehicle discount to include plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

West London never wanted the Western Extension and it is right that residents there can now tell us whether this Christmas should see the end of it. The central zone still plays a useful role but it has to be administered more fairly and straightforwardly, which is why I’m delighted the proposals include changes that should mean no one need ever be fined again.”

But Labour aren't happy. Their transport spokeswoman Val Shawcross says this:

"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."

For almost five years, the daily Congestion Charge has remained at £8 (or £10 if paid the next charging day). In real terms the value of the charge has fallen over this period. The Mayor now proposes increasing the daily charge to £10 if paid in advance (or on the day) and £12 if paid the next charging day. The increase would ensure the charge remains an effective measure to control traffic levels in central London. Any net revenue generated by the Congestion Charge must by law be invested in improvements to London’s transport.

More information on the consultation, including the supporting documents, are available from TfL’s website at

The 10-week statutory consultation closes on Monday 2 August 2010. TfL will then prepare a report for the Mayor reflecting the comments received during the consultation process. The Mayor will then make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the proposals with or without modifications. Should the Mayor decide to proceed with the scheme changes they would come into effect on Tuesday 4 January 2011.

It's a good day for London - this is a pledge that should have been honoured before now but at last Boris appears to be getting on with it. Could that be because he's no longer Tory top dog in elected terms? Surely not. The evidence against the zone is all around you in Shepherd's Bush, especially the Holland Park roundabout which is used to skirt the zone - ever since it was set up the Green has been a slow moving car park.


  1. Sorry Chris, I do not agree removing the Western Extension is a good or affordable idea. It was a campaign pledge along with replacing bendy buses with a greater number of double deckers, another silly stunt. Iain Muir

  2. fair enough that we disagree, I'm just focussing on it from a Shepherd's Bush perspective.

    The main point for me anyway is that the vast majority of people within and on the edges of the zone didn't and don't want it - and they expressed that first in the "consultation" that Ken ignored and secondly the one that Boris conducted and then ignored until now, it would seem.

    You just can't steamroller over people like that, in my humble opinion.

    Having said that I agree re bendy buses!

  3. The Holland Park roundabout and Thames Water's abandonment of basic care and maintenance annoys me. I wish that LBHF would hold them to account.

  4. they have a fractious relationship at the best of times so little chance of that