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Have your say on proposed changes to the Congestion Charge


July 6, 2018

6th July – 28th September 2018

London’s Congestion Charge, when it was first introduced in 2003, was a huge success.  There was a 15 per cent reduction in traffic in the Congestion Charge zone, which led to a 30 per cent reduction in congestion, as well as improvements in air quality.  Without a doubt, congestion in central London would be much more significant if the Congestion Charge scheme were not in place.

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy, published in March 2018, uses the Healthy Streets Approach to plan our streets and transport networks, which encourages people to use active, efficient and sustainable modes of transport, and reduce car use. As part of this, TfL need to keep the Congestion Charge under review, to ensure it remains effective in reducing the use of cars in central London and helps create streets where people choose to walk, cycle and use public transport.  TfL have found that average delays to journeys within the zone have been increasing.  This is partly because there are an increasing number of vehicles entering the zone which are exempt from the charge or which receive a 100 per cent discount.  Currently, only around 50 per cent of the vehicles entering the zone during charging hours are liable to pay the full amount.

As a result, TfL believe that it is necessary to make two changes to the discounts and exemptions available for the Congestion Charge.  These changes are designed to reduce traffic and congestion which is expected to have a consequential beneficial impact on air quality and, in the case of updating the ‘green discount’, incentivise the use of low emission vehicles in the zone.  In addition to these two changes, TfL also propose a number of additional minor changes to the scheme, including amending the scheme boundary at the Old Street roundabout to reflect the planned improvements there.

About our consultation

This consultation is concerned with several changes we propose to make to the Congestion Charge scheme.  The most significant changes are:

  • Replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) with a new phased Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD)
  • Removing the exemption to the Congestion Charge for most Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs)

TfL have considered what impacts these proposals might cause, and have described these in summary terms. Their understanding of the impacts of the proposals has been aided by two independent reports they have commissioned.  The first, called the ‘TfL-PHV Congestion Charge study, was an assessment of the effect of the proposed removal of the PHV exemption on the private hire industry. The second was an Integrated Impact Assessment of our proposals.  TfL have published both reports in full.  TfL have also included a copy of the Variation Order to the Scheme Order which, if confirmed by the Mayor, would enable us to implement the changes we have proposed.

We also propose to make several minor changes, as follows:

  • Changing the boundary of the Congestion Charge zone at Old Street roundabout
  • Changing references to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland in the Scheme Order
  • Updating the reference to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) commencement date in the Scheme Order

The changes to the Congestion Charge boundary at Old Street roundabout will also affect the ULEZ boundary from when the ULEZ is introduced in April 2019 to when it is expanded to inner London in October 2021. This is because the initial ULEZ boundary matches the boundary of the Congestion Charge scheme.

About the Congestion Charge

The Congestion Charge zone is an area of central London where it is necessary to pay a charge of £11.50 (or £10.50 with Auto Pay) per day to drive a vehicle from 07:00 – 18:00, Monday to Friday.

Find out more here