Ditch the congestion charge for road pricing, London Assembly Transport Committee tells Sadiq Khan

 
Rebecca Smith
The annual cost to London from traffic delays on busy roads is £5.5bn
The annual cost to London from traffic delays on busy roads is £5.5bn (Source: Getty)

The current congestion charge is "no longer fit for purpose" and road pricing should be rolled out instead, says the London Assembly Transport Committee.

In London Stalling, a report released today, the committee urges the mayor to change the current system and bring in a way of charging people for road usage that is targeted at areas of congestion, at the times it occurs.

In the report, chair of the Transport Committee Caroline Pidgeon, said it was "a blunt instrument using old technology that covers a tiny part of London" and that vehicles should be charged according to their impact on congestion. "Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London's roads," she added.

Read more: Traffic congestion is costing London businesses £237m each year

For the short-term, the committee suggests reforming it to better reflect the impact of vehicles on congestion, replacing the daily flat rate with a charging structure to make sure those in the zone at peak times and spending longer within it, face the highest charges.

In a survey of over 1,000 people that the committee carried out alongside its report, over half of road users said they supported road pricing, while a fifth were opposed.

Other recommendations in the report:

  • Reducing restrictions on night-time deliveries
  • Piloting a ban on personal deliveries for staff
  • Reconsidering ‘click and collect’ at Tube and rail stations
  • Devolving Vehicle Excise Duty to the mayor
  • Piloting a local Workplace Parking Levy

Read more: Buses in "walking speed" congestion exacerbate London's pollution problem

However, the GLA Conservatives said they opposed any move towards road pricing and would not support proposals from the mayor, should they be brought forward.

Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry welcomed the report, but added: “Our concern would be that businesses are not used as a money-spinner and any new scheme takes into account the economic value of a journey, meaning that the use of public transport is encouraged but businesses are not punished when alternatives are not available. Excessive new congestion charging on delivery vehicles will end up reflected in prices that customers will pay."

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