Sadiq Khan to scrap ‘temporary’ £15 London congestion charge
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has agreed to scrap the “temporary” £15 congestion charge ahead of next month’s mayoral election.
The former transport minister said that he would seek to reduce the charge back to £11.50 if re-elected as London mayor.
The increase to £15 last June was one of a slew of requirements imposed by the Government in return for handing Transport for London, the authority that Mr Khan chairs, a multi billion-pound bailout.
TfL’s finances were crippled by the pandemic, leaving the Labour mayor no choice but to appeal to Boris Johnson for help.
The temporary increase, which raised an extra £113m in the year to March, was expected to remain in place to help fund free travel for over-60s and children.
But Mr Khan told a hustings event: “I will be negotiating with the Government so we don’t have to have it [the increased congestion charge] seven days a week or up until 10pm.”
Sian Berry, the Green candidate for mayor, criticised the move. She told the Evening Standard: “These comments show that the current mayor simply isn’t serious about cutting traffic in London.”
The comments came as Mr Khan insisted that he was not “anti-car” over the weekend despite calling on Londoners to “give up” their vehicles.
“Where you can give up using cars, I would encourage that,” he told The Sunday Times.
“We can avoid a health crisis that is around air quality and obesity, but [it] will also mean that those who do need to use the roads for good reason, be that you are a black-cab driver, electrician, plumber, blue-light services, delivery driver and so forth, are not stuck in traffic and frustrated about productivity when others who have alternatives aren’t using them.”
As the campaigning enters the final two weeks ahead of a May 6 vote, Mr Khan defended plans to expand the ultra-low emission zone to the edges of London. The zone, which is in addition to the congestion charge, will cost drivers £12.50.
He said: “It’s the poorest Londoners who are least likely to own cars who suffer the worst consequences of bad quality of air.
“It’s children living in the poorest parts of London who will have stunted lungs forever because of the bad quality air, and adults who don't own cars who have heart conditions and cancer because of poor quality air.”
Reference: The Telegraph: Oliver Gill