Smarter use of the Congestion Charge to tackle gridlock and improve London’s air – Caroline Pidgeon
- New report recommends a smarter, more flexible system of congestion charging that reflects the level of congestion when a person enters the zone
- Introduction of an additional levy on the Congestion Charge could be a ‘game changer’ in tackling London’s appalling air pollution
- Huge potential to encourage a higher take up of the Congestion Charge Autopay system by removing the charge for registering and developing a free, easy to use App
As the Congestion Charge approaches its thirteenth anniversary a report published today (Friday 29th January) sets out a number of proposals to improve its effectiveness in both tackling congestion and also the serious problem of air pollution affecting the capital.
The report published by the Liberal Democrat London Assembly transport spokesperson Caroline Pidgeon recognises that due in part to London’s growing population, congestion on London’s roads has crept up in recent years, following a significant fall in the early years after the introduction of the Congestion Charge.
The report's key recommendations include a rise in the current level from £11.50 to a higher basic charge of £14, so acting as a more significant deterrent to people thinking about driving into central London. However, this would also be coupled with a smarter use of the Congestion Charge system by varying the price according to the time of entry into the zone, so while motorists entering at quiet periods of the day would pay £14, a motorist entering at the height of the rush hour would pay £20. The times of the peak hours would be reviewed every three months similar to Singapore.
The report also recommends taking tough action on diesel vehicles to clean up London’s air, in effect bringing forward the benefits of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone in London.
Highlighting why these steps are urgently needed, Caroline Pidgeon said:
“Congestion is not just a huge inconvenience but also damaging to people’s health.
“It creates a huge economic bill for businesses due to delays, longer delivery times and staff arriving late for work.
“Now more than ever we need to face up to the implications of London’s growing population and that must mean using the Congestion Charge in a far smarter way.
“Tackling London’s air pollution must also mean tough action against diesel vehicles. Using the Congestion Charge to deter diesel vehicles from central London could be a game changer in tackling air pollution in London.”
The top recommendations from Caroline's report are:
Create a smarter, more flexible, fairer system of congestion charging that reflects what time you enter the zone.
Increase the Congestion Charge level to £20 for entering at rush hour and £14 at other charging times. The existing CC Autopay discount would remain in place. The charge for not paying within 24 hours would increase to £25.
Encourage a higher take up of the CC Autopay system by removing the charge for registering and developing a free, easy to use App.
Add an additional charge of £2.50 on diesel vehicles using the Congestion Charge Zone.
Work with Borough councils to create a pilot local congestion charge zone around Heathrow Airport.
Introduce a work place parking levy in central London and Canary Wharf, which would discourage car use and could raise £52 million per year.
Introduce legislation to Parliament to enable the setting of a cap on the number of licensed private hire vehicles.
Introduce a peak-time ban on HGVs in central London and develop a London-wide strategy for reducing freight traffic on London’s roads, including greater use of consolidation centres and the use of the River Thames.
Call on the Government to allow the roll out of lane rental schemes across London’s road
Download Caroline's complete plan here.