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London Congestion Charge hiked to £15 a day

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

Drivers will need to pay £15 a day to drive in the capital from today (Monday 22 June).

The Congestion Charge has been increased from £11.50 a day (Monday to Friday) to £15 a day every day (excluding Christmas Day). The operating hours have also changed which means the levy now operates from 7am to 10pm.

Last month, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, said it was necessary to reinstate the Congestion Charge after it was relaxed amid the pandemic, stating: “We can’t see journeys formerly taken on public transport replaced with car usage because our roads would immediately become unusably blocked and toxic air pollution would soar.”

Khan added: “The latest data shows that even with the Congestion Charge back in place and many people still working from home, there are as many cars in the zone as there were before the lockdown began.”

With extra cars on the road, there would also not be enough space on the streets to accommodate the increased levels of walking and cycling as social distancing is observed as part of the coronavirus recovery.

The temporary move was also part of a funding deal between Transport for London (TfL) and the government.

However, a reimbursement scheme for local authority workers and charity workers providing certain pandemic support services in the zone will be in place, including for staff at NHS Trusts, ambulance staff and those who work in care homes in the capital.

But the residents’ discount scheme will be closed to new applicants on 1 August.

Khan said: “The government was absolutely clear that TfL must bring forward proposals to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge. Coronavirus continues to present our city with unprecedented challenges but I am determined to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system.

“The reality is that due to social distancing requirements public transport can only carry a fraction of the number of passengers compared to pre-pandemic levels – even when we are back to running completely full services.

“While capacity on the network needs to be preserved for those people who need it most, we can’t allow journeys that were previously taken on public transport to be replaced with car trips.

“Alongside the temporary changes to the Congestion Charge, this will enable millions more journeys to be made on foot or by bike and will keep our roads moving for Londoners who need to make essential trips.”