Traffic congestion

Congestion Charge needs urgent reform

19 January 2017

The overall annual cost to London from traffic delays on busy roads is £5.5 billion. This figure represents a huge 30 per cent increase in just two years (£4.2 billion in 2012/13).  The cost of delays for an average vehicle is £20.83 per hour.

The London Assembly Transport Committee report London Stalling’ released today calls on the Mayor to reform the Congestion Charge and ultimately replace with it road pricing. The Committee suggests a way of charging people for road usage that is targeted at areas of congestion, at the times congestion occurs.  

It’s a popular idea, with over half of road users responding to a Committee survey saying they support road pricing - only a fifth were opposed.

In the short-term, the Congestion Charge should be reformed to better reflect the impact of vehicles on congestion. The daily flat rate should be replaced with a charging structure that ensures vehicles in the zone at peak times, and spending longer in the zone, face the highest charges.

The report also recommends:

  • 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

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said;

Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London’s roads. The issue is costing our city money and costing Londoners their health and wellbeing. Transport for London (TfL) is doing a lot to tackle congestion, but not enough. Road pricing would be a fairer approach, as road users would pay according to how much they contribute to congestion.

It’s a bold move – but our survey shows that road users are in favour and the current congestion charge is far too blunt an instrument and too narrow in scope.

Gridlocked London needs to start moving again and tinkering here and there is not going to achieve that. A total rethink about who uses our roads and how is imperative to get the veins and arteries of our great city flowing freely again.

Notes to editors

  1. The report ‘London Stalling’ is attached.
  2. David Kurten AM of UKIP agrees with Recommendations 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 11 of the report. He disagrees with Recommendations 2 and 3, and partially disagrees with Recommendations 1 and 10.  A minority report from UKIP is attached in the appendix.
  3. Steve O’Connell AM of the GLA Conservatives would like to clarify his views on Recommendation 1 of the report. Whilst he is willing, in the interests of cross-party working, to see proposals brought forward for how road-pricing in London might work, he remains strongly opposed to the principle of road-pricing and would be almost certain to oppose any specific proposals.
  4. Survey results attached.
  5. Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  6. London Assembly Transport Committee.
  7. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.

For media enquiries, please contact Alison Bell on 020 7983 4228.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.