Publication from Caroline Russell: Caroline Russell response to the consultation on the Congestion Charge

Date published: 
28 September 2018

Congestion Charge consultation response

Dear Sadiq,

Congestion Charge consultation

I support all measures that aim to reduce the levels of harmful air pollution and congestion that are affecting the health and wellbeing of the people living and working in our city.

I welcomed your introduction of the T-charge in central London as a symbolic step towards deterring people making unnecessary car and vehicle journeys and I back the ULEZ, and in fact would like to see it extended to cover all of London, for all polluting vehicles. 

The life expectancy of Londoners is cut by up to 16 months due to air pollution. Having your quality of life ruined by illnesses caused by bad air cannot be weighed against business costs, they aren’t even in the same category.

In the spirit of reducing pollution and taking a stand against unnecessary motorised journeys, I support the proposal to remove the Congestion Charge exemption for private hire vehicles. 

However, I would ask that the impact on smaller operators is carefully assessed and that appropriate steps are taken to address the possible restrictions smaller companies will face. In recognising the pressures that PHV drivers face I would also like to see recommendations from TfL that extra charges are paid by operators, not by individual drivers.

While I support the principle of the proposal, the c-charge remains a blunt instrument that is not a strong enough deterrent, especially for large operators, to seriously reduce the numbers of car and vehicle journeys taken in inner London.

The c-charge in its current form doesn’t address congestion on weekday evenings or weekends and still offers a large residents’ discount. 
Instead of a flat fee that means drivers have a perverse incentive to keep driving to make the most of the charge, you and Transport for London should be developing a smart road-pricing system for the next stages of the ULEZ implementation. 

A road-pricing scheme where people are charged by the time of day and distance travelled as well as by vehicle emissions is a fairer system that discourages extra vehicle trips.

I urge you to consider the measures above and hope that your proposal to remove the Congestion Charge exemption for private hire vehicles is a step towards bringing in a London-wide smart road-charging system.

Yours sincerely,

Caroline Russell
Green Party Member of the London Assembly

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