London Congestion Charge — Western Extension Abolished
… as Manchester Votes on Introducing a Huge Charging Zone
London Mayor Boris Johnson announced today that the "Western Extension" to the London congestion charge zone, covering Kensington and Chelsea, will be abolished by 2010.
"We are delighted that Boris Johnson has scrapped an unpopular scheme that ABD London has campaigned consistently against," said ABD London chief, Roger Lawson. "This is a great day for London and a good day for Britain."
Meanwhile, the people of Greater Manchester are currently voting on plans to introduce the largest road charging zone in the world — a vote forced by determined opposition to politicians (local and national) who are wedded to the flawed concept of road pricing.
"Londoners voted overwhelmingly to scrap one congestion charge, while Manchester still perseveres with introducing another," said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "Boris has listened to the people who elected him — while the politicians of Manchester, under strong influence from Whitehall, continue to turn a deaf ear to reason."
Boris Johnson accepts the congestion charge extension in London has not worked to cut congestion, but has harmed local businesses. The writing is on the wall — a congestion charge is only tenable in the very centre of a capital city that is already well served by public transport. Even there, it is undesirable. As soon as it is extended to areas where people live and where normal businesses are located, it is ruinous.
Will Manchester take heed? The ABD has a message for that great city:
"Don't let the Whitehall mandarins treat you as road pricing guinea pigs when the experiment in their own back yard has failed …"