Congestion Charge Extension to be removed

The axe will fall on the Western Extension Zone

You may have heard the scurrilous rumour that I have reneged on my promise to remove the Western Extension of the congestion charge.

I am blogging about this now to tell you that is emphatically not true.

When I was elected, I promised to give Londoners the consultation they never got. Londoners expressed the overwhelming view that it should be removed, and I promised to honour that judgement. I maintain that promise today, and to make it absolutely crystal clear; we will be removing the Western Extension next year.

We have to jump through a number of tedious bureaucratic hoops before the axe can fall, but fall it will. The extended zone will be no more. It will be an ex-zone, the area formerly known as. It will be a dead zone!

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34 thoughts on “Congestion Charge Extension to be removed”

  1. Boris: many thanks for your promise and if you can’t slice through beaureaucratic hoops and get results no one else can!

  2. …….and while your at it, when will the LAST of those ghastly bendy-busses be replaced by double-deckers?

    (I dont particularly mind whether or not it is a 21st Century Routemaster, just get rid of the bendy-busses)

  3. Charlie, youre right – “When ? We who voted for you are getting more than a little impatient!”

    Yes we are getting just a teeny weeny bit impatient Mr Mayor!!

  4. Well done, Boris! And while you’re at it, please outlaw these cowboy wheel clampers, at least in London, too.

    This cowboy wheel clamping ‘company’ is owned and run by an Australian man ! I have never seen anything so uncivilized as these cowboy clampers in any other countries except GREAT Britain.

    If Scotland has outlawed wheel clampers, why can’t England do the same?

    If Scotland can ‘afford’ to offer free university tuition to all EU students ( except the English who will still have to pay if they want to study at any Scottish universities! Why? Isn’t England is part of Britain who is an EU member? ), why can’t England do the same?

    And Scotland is subsidized by England with English taxpayers’ money! Odd.

  5. Boris,

    I think that it might be very interesting for us all, to increase our understanding of how exactly we are governed, to explain a bit about the “number of tedious bureaucratic hoops”.

    I appreciate that we would not want the Mayor to rule by dictatorial fiat, but some expansion on this theme might be useful.


  6. Fools! The C-Charge zone will remain as it is because of the shortfall in income caused by Boris’ friends in the City. As for the articulated buses, if any blogger cannot pass a bus stationary at a bus stop, I recommend more driving lessons.

  7. Do it Boris!

    We know it is hard, but try to get it done before the next general election to stop those spin-masters from damaging yours and party’s ratings! This country needs a landslide!

  8. Here’s what I got when I asked when the WEZ was going:

    date 21 September 2009 14:47
    subject UAT TESTING:Re: letter received 21/09/2009 (Our Ref:TFL098266 )

    Dera Ellis Jackson

    Thank you for your recent letter addressed to the Mayor of London regarding the Western Extension Zone (WEZ). As a Correspondence Officer for the congestion charging scheme, your letter was forwarded to me for investigation and response.

    The Mayor recently announced his intention to remove the Western Extension zone. He is legally obliged to follow the relevant statutory process to ensure that the proposed removal of the western extension to the zone is not inconsistent with his current Transport Strategy. He is under a duty to undertake a full public and stakeholder consultation on the revision to the Strategy, which is due to be published in winter 2009, before the process to remove western extension can begin. A further public consultation is then required before the necessary amendments to the legislation and resulting operational changes can be made.

    While there is a power to suspend the charge, this could only be used on a short term basis and the Mayor and TfL would need to consider all of the relevant factors, including the effect on congestion, in doing so.

    The earliest any changes could cost effectively be introduced would be following the change of Congestion Charge service provider to IBM in 2010. Further details on the public consultation will be announced in due course.

    I hope that this clarifies the position of TfL and once again, thank you for writing.

    Yours sincerely

    Helena Matuszak
    Correspondence Investigation Officer
    Congestion Charging Scheme
    Transport for London

    And then when was IBM going to be ready?

    date 23 September 2009 10:48
    subject UAT TESTING:Re: letter received 23/09/2009 (Our Ref:TFL098312 )

    Dear Jackson Ellis

    Thank you for your further email.

    There is no way TfL can give an exact date as it depends when IBM’s new systems are fully tested and ready.


    Helena Matuszak

    So is there a U turn or a delay…? I reckon it’s a delay but still long enough to get some more cash in the coffers Boris?

  9. Jackson Ellis – You are kidding!

    That correspondence is dynamite and thanks for sharing it. Just goes to show what is going on in the background and how likely it is that there will be a U-turn.

  10. The transport budget of TFL is in a profound mess, mainly due to the stupidity of the Gordon Brown inspired PFI, and the loss of passengers in the recession.

    The removal of the Western Zone will mean an even greater loss of revenue to the budget, as congestion charging revenue is hypothecated to public transport.

    As further central government support is unlikely to be forthcoming, and Boris will not ask the boroughs for more money, there is only the “farebox” left.

    There will have to be very large fare increases over the next 2 to 3 years – made even larger if the Western Zone is removed.

    The removal of the bendy-buses before their natural life is a ridiculous and costly decision, even though they should never have been used in London in the first place.

    Transport is the single most important issue in London, and Boris is in danger of making a very big mess of it.

  11. Seems a bit of a contradiction in the letter above. They say in suspending the CC they need to take congestion into account – does this mean they’ll scrap it without considering this?

    Also, what sort of consultation is it when the Mayor says the CC is going full stop? I thought one of Boris’s campaign ‘angles’ was on how unaccountable the previous incumbent was, however he is happy to say that regardless of consultation the zone will be scrapped. Doesn’t quite add up to me.

  12. Being from the back woods of Hampshire we were unaware of the Western Extension of the London Congestion Charge to the City of Westminster. We are now £120 short from a two day visit. The irony being that we would have been exempt had we registered my wife as disabled.

    The congestion charge is a farce and disinsentive to London tourism. Cut the tfl red tape Boris and honour your pledges.

  13. Can’t wait for west london congestion charge to go. i can only visit my family who live just inside the zone at certain times or face an 8 fee for my car. too long to travel to them by london transport and they have made it impossible to park outside the zone through resident parking, high fees etc. Plus the live in big council estate inside the area and are not rich and neither am i cos i live in one in Hayes, i feel cut off!!!!

  14. I really do hope and pray, you can stand by your promise and get rid of the western extension by 2010. What on earth was Ken Livingston thing? Remove it soon, pls remove it now! My family is £160 short every month because of this joke. This is meant to be a democratic country but where is democracy in this? Wishing you the very best, trust me you have enormous support from Londoners.

  15. Hi Boris and All,

    Well it’s a brand new year and time for fresh new starts.
    Now we are in 2010 can you please confirm when the Western CC zone will be scrapped?
    Are we any nearer to an indication of a date?
    How is the implementation of the new system and company to manage the CC going?

    I normally get to work on a motorbike but have decided against this recently as the roads are like ice rinks.
    I would use public transport but it takes me two or three times longer to get to work in Notting Hill, as my home is not well served by public transport.
    So I have to use my car and the CC charge is hurting me badly.

    I think it is clear that the reason for the recent increases on all public transport fares (with more to follow I am sure) is to help top up and replace the funds that will be lost by the scrapping of the Western Zone.
    I quite frankly I think this is how it should be.
    We should all pay for what we use, why should I have to ultimately pay for people sitting on a bus or a tube train because I use my car!??
    They should pay what it costs and NOT be subsidized by me and the rest of the hard working tax paying public, the only exceptions I would make to this would be with OAP’s or people who have genuine disabilities (not work shy dole & benefit scroungers).
    I also presume the key reason the Western Zone has not yet been scrapped is because you have had to find a way of balancing the books.
    If the lost revenue was not the problem you could have introduced the scrapping of this charge from the moment you entered office (or as quickly as you managed to introduce the banning of alcohol on public transport). But you didn’t because you don’t have the cash to do it.

    It costs me a lot of money and taxes to keep my car on the road and with the added constant increases in fuel taxes (not DUTY it is all TAXES, covert or otherwise) it already makes it near impossible to keep my car, let alone drive it and as such I make sure I do not use my car if I don’t need to and I am sure this is the same for most people now.
    I will be back on my motorbike as soon as the road conditions are safe again (saving on the CC charge as well as petrol costs).
    It is a travesty that due to Ken’s bad financial management of the public transport system and his eagerness to try and price all cars off of London’s roads that you and all of us are now suffering.
    Just how much money did he squander on the Bus Transport System (using CC money in part to do so)?
    Global Warming, Climate Change, or any other nonsense that the Government wants to try and use as a reason to tax us even more is a joke and the joke is wearing very thin for all of us.
    This has nothing to do with reducing pollution and has everything to do with collecting covert taxes.

    Times are hard for everyone at the moment and I can’t imagine there isn’t one person who hasn’t been touched and affected by this recession.
    I know the public transport system is financially a mess but please don’t continue to hit the already massively tax burdened car driver with this stealth tax.

    Show your true colours Boris and lets start 2010 in a positive light, we need to see an end to the covert taxes of Labour, so please declare a date for the end to the Western CC zone and declare that date today??

    You are the man that can see clearly through the mist and nonsense that you had to inherit, its time to let the sun shine through to a brighter day.

  16. I think there are two sides to this. The Westfield Centre is now open and brings in a huge amount of extra traffic. This will undoubtedly creep further East and more people will be tempted to use their cars to shop there. Aren’t we supposed to be reducing emissions and car pollution? It is easy to focus on how we are affected personally if we need to go in to the zone but surely we should look at the wider picture and to scrap the extension would be a step backwards.

  17. Why is it taking so long to abolish? My boyfriend lives 10 minutes away from me by car, inside the Western Extension zone. I can’t afford to stay over as I have to pay the C- charge to leave, and there’s no decent transport links. I’d have to take two buses and it takes over 40 minutes. At night it’s simply not safe to walk home from the bus top. It’s been two years of this. The C- Charge is ruining my relationship! Please hurry up!

  18. Congestion charge has definately ruined my life and it has to go as soon as possible. I work in Hyde Park and live in chiswick.For personal reasons i cant take public transport so the western extension was the worst thing that could have happened to me as i used to drive through to work. That was not possible anymore after western congestion came on ad i have since struggled getting to work, driving on to A40 through to Edgware Road,which is making my life hell.It has to go as soon as possible, there’s enough pressure and stress we dont need extras.

  19. Boris,
    Abolishing western congestion charge is the best news ever but why is it taking so long, give us a date, please get rid of it, it has to go!!!!!!

  20. When are we going to know if the congestion charge is abolished? Or is it all talk and no action, in a true political manner?

  21. The Western concharge,has been a nasty stealth tax dealt out by a nasty self centred labour politician ,ken livingstone (please god we never see him in office again) It has divided our community,brought misery to small local business.made criminals of the those that could not afford to pay.And as for me put an additional £40 tax on top of the £250 i pay already.Its just to much!!
    Boris please get rid of it as soon as possible.if you did so before the election,your party would have done better in west london.Give us a solid date for its removal please…….ps i like the new bus design ,well done.

  22. When will you be fulfilling your promise to remove the Congestion Charge from the Western Extension? It has been almost a year now! I like to trust the politician that I vote for to keep their promises. So you can have our support for next time. It is very important for a man to honor his words.

  23. excuse my logic,but london NOW is a city you drive to,but you cannot stop in? so,why is it there? well think about it,the powers to be dont want you to stop? so if your heating is not working this winter,sorry londoners i will not be fixing to go i have to tell a seriously rich guy the bad news. perhaps he will invest, or tell his rich friends to invest, in another town, or country.a lot of us tradesmen and firms i hear through the grapevine are pulling out,you will have to huddle around youre parking tickets.

  24. Ahem! It’s still there and 2010 is running out. I got caught in it last week having only just started driving again since before it was extended. I had, somewhat foolishly, assumed that your pledge to get rid of it had been fulfilled. No such luck, and 60 quid gone into your coffers. Cheers.

  25. Well done Boris! The Extension charge was always a complete nonsense railroaded through by that idiot Livingstone. You are doing a wonderful job for London. A champion of common sense. Well done and thank you.

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