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Congestion Zone charging hours to be reduced

London Congestion Zone charge hours to be reduced, Transport for London (TfL) has announced. 

Following a 10-week consultation, TfL has confirmed various changes that they say will help to prevent car use from rising above pre-pandemic levels. 

The main change is that there will be no charge in the evening after 18:00, TfL says that these changes will support London’s culture, hospitality, and night-time businesses, which have been some of the hardest hit during the pandemic. 

Operating hours of the congestion charge on weekends and bank holidays will also reduce to 12:00 – 18:00. 

The charge will also be suspended between Christmas and the first working day of the New Year, in a bid to support families and visitors over the festive period in what is traditionally a time of increased engineering work on the rail network and a quieter period on the roads. 

Big Ben, London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘The Government insisted on proposals to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge last year as a condition of TfL’s emergency funding agreement – which was only needed because of the pandemic and the collapse in fares revenue.

‘These new changes strike a balance between reducing traffic and congestion and supporting London’s economy and residents and helping ensure our recovery is a green and sustainable one.

‘The removal of the evening charge will support the capital’s culture, hospitality and night-time businesses which have struggled so much, as well as encouraging people to walk, cycle and use public transport. It’s vital we do not encourage a car-led recovery and replace one public health crisis with another due to filthy air.’

However, the move has been criticised by Green London Assembly Member Sian Berry, who said: ‘The government is taking money from TfL, but at the same time forgoing revenue we currently get from car drivers when there is a real environmental and safety incentive to remove vehicles from central London doesn’t make any sense either.

‘Neither the government nor the mayor are doing the right thing here. Most low-income Londoners do not drive a car but they do pay council tax and they do benefit when they’re over 60 from the discounts. The mayor is penalising the wrong people here.’

 

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