Boris ditches part of C-Charge zone

London Mayor Boris Johnson has announced that he is scrapping part of the capital's Congestion Charging zone in response to public demand.

Following a consultation with Londoners, he said he will take steps to remove the Western Extension, which includes the affluent areas of Kensington, Notting Hill, and Chelsea.

Nearly 28,000 residents and businesses responded to a consultation on the future of the Western Extension earlier this year, with two-thirds of residents and 86% of businesses calling for it to be scrapped.

It comes just months after Mr Johnson scrapped another anti-congestion initiative launched by his predecessor Ken Livingstone which would have raised the daily charge for entering the Congestion Charging zone from £8 to £25 for the most polluting vehicles (see related story).

“During the election I promised Londoners a genuine consultation on the future of the extension,” Mr Johnson said.

“I promised that I would respect their opinions and I promised that if clear support for a particular way forward emerged then I would act on that opinion.

“Londoners have spoken loud and clear, and the majority of people have said that they would like the scheme scrapped.”

He said Transport for London (TfL) was still working on a series of measures aimed at easing congestion in the capital, such as re-phasing traffic signals.

TfL estimates that traffic returning to the Western Extension will result in a small increase in emissions of air pollutants and carbon dioxide, but said it is “unlikely to have any material effect on measured air quality” in the area or on its boundary.

But Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones said: “Scrapping the Western Extension will almost certainly lead to a sharp rise in traffic, more congestion, more air pollution and more climate change emissions.”

She also raised concerns that the drop in income from Congestion Charge fares could lead to a rise in fares on public transport.

TfL will now begin the legal processes necessary to remove the Western Extension, but it is expected to remain until at least spring 2010.

Kate Martin

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