Scrapping the Western Congestion Zone "Madness"

Says West London Friends of the Earth

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Friends of the Earth has responded strongly to Mayor Boris Johnson’s proposal to scrap the western extension of the London congestion charge zone.

Following from the spectacular success of the central London zone, Mayor Ken Livingstone planned a western extension to the zone.  The plan was so well advanced that new mayor Boris Johnson brought it in, but from the outset made it clear he was opposed to it.  He was consulting on scrapping the zone; the consultation closed on 2nd August.     

Nic Ferriday, spokesperson for West London Friends of the Earth, said: “The western extension has been a great success.  It has reduced traffic by some 30,000 vehicles a day, reduced congestion, reduced air pollution and cut CO2 emissions [note 2].  It also brings in £55 million a year which could be used to provide better public transport for Londoners.  It would be madness to scrap it.

Yet Boris Johnson is prepared to sacrifice the social, economic and environmental benefits for all Londoners in order to appease some short-sighted and selfish motorists in West London.  Let us hope that he listens to the arguments and decides to keep the western extension.  This would help towards Johnson’s vision of London as the best big city on earth rather than regressing toward third world standards.”

It is estimated by Transport for London that levels of two of the worst air pollutants, dangerous airborne particles (PM10) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx), would increase on average across the whole WEZ area, by some 3.5% and 2.5% respectively.  TfL admits also that transport emissions of the climate change gas, carbon dioxide (CO2), would go up in the WEZ area by around 5%, on average, if the WEZ were abolished.      


August 3, 2010