Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Session date: 
November 19, 2003
Question By: 
Lynne Featherstone
Liberal Democrats
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Two things one is on the fact that it is extending the existing technology as far as it can go, but also it is not a very targeted technology. The polling that you refer to actually showed that London wanted congestion charging to be focused either on a road or a small area or a time of day or a day of the week and actually progress towards the Government's programme of road charging where you can be more accurate. In fact Transport for London are spending £17 million now on the new technologies. So, in my view, this is an inappropriate use of the technology. Can you comment on that?

The second part is in this discussion with the government about the funding, if they give you part of the £900 million, maybe they will give it all, are they going to attach strings that say `well, you can go ahead with the Thames Gateway because that helps our Governmental targets, but not with congestion charging which may be your baby and are you going to bow to those strings?

Can you comment on that?

Supplementary To: 


Answer for Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Answer for Congestion Charging (Supplementary) [6]

Answered By: 
The Mayor

I accepted the strings for SR2000, that is, we sat down with Government; we had a huge shopping list; there were things I could persuade them to do to and there were things I could not. They gave me the money for what we had agreed to take forward. They did not give me the money to re-introduce conductors on all the buses. They agreed a pilot scheme, which sadly did not show sufficient benefit to justify the re-introduction of conductors across the whole service.

I sat down with Keith Hill and senior Government officials, worked through the whole list, agreed which would go forward and I honoured the commitments I gave then and so did they. That is what will happen next year.

The idea that we go and spend £250 million on a bridge or £500 million on a tram scheme without getting agreement with Government is bizarre.

On the technology point, I agree with you it would be nice if you could go straight to transponders and geostationary satellites, but it will most probably be the end of the decade before that is available. Day-by-day, there is appalling congestion in Kensington and Westminster that impacts on the competitiveness of our business community, as it impacts on the bus service. It is a problem I would like to resolve. Everything that we do both in laying in the original scheme and in the extension is designed so that it can be upgraded to the geopositional satellite and transponder technology the moment that becomes available.