Thursday, 23 December 2010

Boris in Westfield Shepherd's Bush to celebrate death of C Charge

Mayor Johnson today celebrated getting round to something he promised he'd do during his election campaign. The election approaching he's decided to actually do it and kill off the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge that overnight turned Shepherds Bush Green into an overflow car park as cars attempted to skirt the zone. The western extension of the zone will finish on Christmas eve.

Ken Livingstone ignored the wishes of those of us who live in West London, who clearly told him through a consultation that we didn't want the zone, and imposed it anyway. He was given the elbow shortly afterwards. Now Boris, perhaps looking to the politically imploding government we have at the moment, is getting a tad worried about Labour's challenge at the next election - so he appeared at Westfield today to give what he called a "present" to Londoners in the form of no more C-Charge on our doorsteps.

Having scrapped the M4 bus lane, another bete noire, it's safe to say Boris is paying quite a bit of attention to the West London vote at the moment. With Ken's deputy Val Shawcross responding to the end of the western C-Charge zone by pledging to re-impose it, I think it's also fair to say Labour will need to be looking somewhere other than Westwards for their campaign come election time.

According to the BBC, who were at today's, stunt, Mayor Johnson said:

"The effect on both pollution and congestion, we think, will be vanishingly small and it is worth doing just because it was a democratically right thing to do.
"Don't forget I campaigned to consult people properly. The issue was that this thing was put in without a proper democratic consultation."

And according to the Standard he went further and said

The long desired eradication of the western extension is my Christmas present to the people who live, work and shop in west London.”

But Labour's Val Shawcross said:

"We are all going to end up paying for this in massively increased public transport fares."

Incisive commentary there from Ms Shawcross. Mentioning nothing of how much money this zone has already taken out of the West London economy.

It's also worth paying tribute to our own Council who have consistently lobbied the Mayor, to the point of actually embarasssing him politically for being so lazy about getting round to doing this, to follow through and rid us of this zone. So well done H&F Council on this one.

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