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CONGESTION CHARGING

This page of our web site provides information on the London Congestion Charge system, and demonstrates how ineffective it has been in reducing congestion. In practice it has just become an enormously expensive way to raise tax to fund Transport for London and the Mayor’s other programmes.

The map below (source: TfL) shows the current limits of the London Congestion Charge scheme (as at July 2017). 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 was raised 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 did not solve the congestion problem with that soon returning to the same level as before and subsequently becoming a lot worse. 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 was 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 (note: TfL have stopped publishing Annual Monitoring Reports and taken former ones down from the internet so some links in the following articles may fail):

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 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

This note was published after publication  of the Sixth Annual Monitoring Report on the London Congestion Charge by TfL in August 2008 which made it clear that congestion was back to where it was before the charge was introduced, with the Western Extension also providing no benefits at all since it was introduced: Congestion_Charge_Report_2008

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

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

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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