The Alliance of British Drivers

London Region

   Road Safety

The map below (source: TfL) shows the current limits of the London Congestion Charge scheme (as at March 2014). This scheme was installed in 2002 to the City and West End with a Western Extension into Kensington and Chelsea introduced in 2007 despite overwhelming public opposition in the previous public consultation exercise (go to this page for more details of those objections and the ABD campaign against it: Western). There is a charge per day for driving anywhere within the zone boundary. This was originally set at 5 per day but rose to 10 at the end of 2010, when the Western Extension was scrapped. It is proposed to raise the charge to 11.50 per day from June 2014.

The original justification for the charge was that it would solve London's perennial road traffic congestion (environmental benefits were not an argument used because it was known they would be minimal). But it has not solved congestion with that soon returning to the same level as before. The environmental claims made by some have also been shown to be false with air pollution within the zone basically unchanged as a result. Neither does it raise any significant funds for public transport improvements because almost all the revenue from the scheme goes in operating costs. Indeed if it was not for the accidental fines people collect from forgetting to pay the charge, it would lose money. Note that the Congestion Charge was introduced by socialist car-hating Mayor Ken Livingstone. It has impacted the poor more heavily than the wealthy and hence is a very regressive tax. His final parting shot before being ejected from office by the electorate was to sign up London for a multi-year contract with the operators which is too expensive to cancel.

Congestion Charging and Road Pricing

The following articles have been published on Congestion Charging (particularly the London Congestion Charge or "Tax") and on road usage charging by ABD members:

These articles were written in 2006 on the effect of the scheme on air pollution: Congestion Charge Tax and Congestion Charge and Air Pollution

This article was written in 2006 on why business people should oppose congestion and road usage charging: Why Business Must Oppose Congestion Charging

This article was written in 2007 after a TV debate on the Road Pricing and associated issues: Road_Pricing_TV_Debate

This article was written on the London Congestion Charge after publication of the 5th Annual Monitoring Report: Congestion_Charge_Report_2007

The following article is a report on a debate on road pricing held in Cambridge in May 2008: Debate_on_Road_Pricing

Scares about "gridlock" due to rising vehicle numbers are commonplace. See this article for a rebuttal: Traffic_Counts_Not_Rising

This press release was issued following the publication of the Sixth Annual Monitoring Report on the London Congestion Charge by TfL in August 2008: Press025, and it is clear that congestion is back to where it was before the charge was introduced, with the Western Extension also providing no benefits at all since it was introduced a year ago.. For a more detailed analysis, read this note: Congestion_Charge_Report_2008

Note that our campaign against a proposed Congestion Charge in the Greenwich (which took place mainly in 2007) is covered on this web page: Greenwich

For a summary of the latest changes to the Congestion Charge and a review of traffic trends in London, see this article published in December 2010: Congestion_Charge_Changes

In March 2014 it was proposed to raise the charge to 11.50 and this was a note the ABD submitted in response to the consultation on that change: "The proposed increase in charges is outrageous. Since the Congestion Charge Tax was introduced in February 2003, the Retail Price Index has increased by 41%.  The original Congestion Charge fee was 5 per day, and it is now proposed to be 11.50 - which is an increase of  130%. The charge should be reduced not increased.   In addition, it has been made more and more difficult to pay the charge with limited hours on the phone service (and long response times), no retail outlets supported and other steps taken to raise more and more money from users. It is clear that this scheme is all about raising revenue and not about reducing congestion. Indeed congestion has not come down, and TfL don't even bother to publish figures for it any more - presumably too embarrassed to do so, or wish to hide the true facts. This tax should be scrapped, not increased."

In January 2017 the London Assembly Transport Committee published a report on the congestion in London with some recommendations for action. That follows severely worsening congestion in recent years with more private hire vehicles, more LGVs delivering internet orders, and the general increase in the population and business in London. A summary of their recommendations and the ABD's comments on them are present in this blog post: Congestion-Report

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