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London Congestion Charge and low emission zones suspended

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak
Posted:
Updated:
23/03/2020

Transport for London has temporarily suspended all road user charging schemes in the capital to enable key workers to travel as easily as possible.

As of Monday 23 March, none of the usual charges are in place in the capital until further notice, Transport for London announced.

This means motorists won’t pay the £11.50 daily charge for driving within the Congestion Charge zone between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

Further, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (£12.50 daily charge 24/7 in the same London area for most cars) and the Low Emission Zone in greater London are also suspended.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan asked for the move to ensure London’s critical workers, particularly those in the NHS, are able to travel easily around London during this national emergency.

This is also off the back of a reduced public transport network and reduced number of stations open.

However, with the charges being dropped, Khan said it shouldn’t be an invitation for people to use their cars unnecessarily.

He said: “People should not be travelling, by any means, unless they really have to. London’s roads should now only be used for essential journeys. To help our critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place, I have instructed TfL to temporarily suspend the Congestion Charge, ULEZ and Low Emission Zone from Monday.

“This is not an invitation to take to your cars. To save lives we need the roads clear for ambulances, doctors, nurses and other critical workers. This is an unprecedented time and I know Londoners are doing everything they can to look after each other. I continue to urge all Londoners to follow the advice of public health authorities and not leave their homes unless it is absolutely essential.”

NHS workers will also be given a code that waives the 24-hour access fee for Santander cycles until 30 April, meaning any journey under 30 minutes is free. Docking stations near hospitals are also being prioritised to ensure there is a regular supply of bikes for medical staff to use.

Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL’s general manager of road user charging, added: “What we are seeing through this crisis is that London’s critical workforce is wider than just the core emergency services. Emergency services workers are absolutely fundamental to our response, but supermarket workers, utilities engineers, refuse collectors, and many more, also need to be able to travel to keep the city functioning. This is why we have temporarily suspended road user charging in the capital.”