Countdown Begins to End of Western Extension

Mayor plans to scrap charge in West London on Christmas Eve

Mayor Boris Johnson is proposing that the last charging day for the Western Extension of the Congestion Charge will be December 24.

The announcement comes as Transport for London begins a statutory public consultation on the removal of the extension and  other a number of proposed changes to London’s Congestion Charge.

In the consultation the Mayor proposes that following the last charging day for the Western Extension on Christmas Eve, the charge will be suspended as normal over the festive period.

Then on January 4 2011, 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% Resident’s Discount because they reside within the Western Extension, or immediately adjacent to the Western Extension boundary, will no longer qualify for a 90% discount from the charge.

The Mayor 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."

Richard Tracey, Tory London Assembley Member for Merton and Wandsworth, added: "The Western Extension to the Congestion Charge area was imposed on residents, shops and businesses after they rejected the idea when Ken Livingstone first proposed it.

"Viewed by many as a dogmatic attack on the motorist, which had little to do with lessening congestion, the extension has been controversial ever since. The announcement gives people their final opportunity to decide whether it stays or goes. I urge people to take it."

But from January 2011, the charge for those entering the zone will rise from £8 to £10. The Mayor's proposals include increasing the daily charge to £10 if paid in advance (or on the day) and £12 if paid the next charging day. 

TfL says this increase will 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.

It is also proposed a Congestion Charging Auto Pay scheme is set up to make paying the Congestion Charge easier and more convenient. To register customers will need a credit or debit card and to pay a £10 registration charge for each vehicle on the account. 

Auto Pay aims to ensure that no Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) will be issued to any registered vehicles, meaning drivers will no longer be penalized for forgetting to pay the charge. Auto Pay customers will also be eligible for a daily charge of £9, and drivers will only be charged for the days they travel within the zone and would be billed each month.

The Mayor also proposes to make London greener by removing the Alternative Fuel Discount and introducing a Greener Vehicle Discount that would encourage a switch to much cleaner and more CO2 efficient cars. 

The Greener Vehicle Discount will provide a 100% discount to cars that emit 100g/km of CO2 or less and meet the Euro V standard for air quality.  Owners of cars eligible for the Greener Vehicle Discount will 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 current Alternative Fuel Discount provides a 100% discount to some vehicles that are powered by an alternative fuel,  including LPG, natural gas and petrol-electric hybrids.

However, TfL says some benefits of the alternative fuels have been outpaced by technological developments in other vehicles. This means some new vehicles which don't qualify for the Alternative Fuel Discount have better environmental performance than some vehicles that do qualify. 

Because of these advances, it is proposed the Alternative Fuel Discount be closed to new registrations on December 24, 2010, though owners of vehicles registered with TfL before that date will continue to receive a 100% discount for a two year period.

More information on the consultation, including the supporting documents, are available at Removal of the Western Extension

The 10 week statutory consultation closes on Monday August 2, and 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. If the Mayor decides to proceed, the changes will all come into effect on January 4, 2011. 

May 26, 2010

Related links
Related Links

Congestion Charge Consultation

Mayor of London