Azara Blog: Kensington and Chelsea protests against so-called congestion charge

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Date published: 2007/02/17

The BBC says:

Hundreds of drivers have taken part in an anti-congestion charge protest in London in a last-ditch attempt to stop the western extension of the zone.

Organised by the West London Residents Association, the go-slow began at Addison Road, in Kensington.

Protesters argue the £8 charge, being introduced from Monday, will damage businesses and cost residents hundreds of pounds a year.

But Transport for London believes congestion will be cut by 15%.

TfL also claims the number of vehicles will be reduced by 10 to 15% once the charge is introduced.

The zone will expand west from central London on Monday to include Kensington and Chelsea.
A TfL spokesman said: "The central London congestion charge has worked. Since the introduction of the charge in 2003, traffic levels have been reduced in the central zone by 20%."

He said this meant that each day in 2006 there were almost 70,000 fewer vehicles entering the charging zone compared with the daily figure before charging began.

Mr Livingstone said congestion charging had cut pollution and CO2 levels and improved safety for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as increasing the reliability of buses.

If the citizens of London don't like the so-called congestion charge then they can just vote the bum out. As it is, nobody is going to feel very sorry for the (mainly rich) citizens of Kensington and Chelsea. Indeed, some of them will benefit because they will now be able to drive in the original charged area at a 90% discount.

On the other hand, TfL is a typically dishonest government organisation. They can't even call their tax by what it is, an access charge (once you pay your fee you can cause as much congestion as you like; and buses and taxis pay no charge, although they are responsible for much of the congestion). And although they trumpet the obvious fact that less vehicles enter the charged zones, they fail to say what has happened to these vehicles. Have drivers just moved the traffic elsewhere (and so in total ended up causing if anything more pollution)? Have they just given up on doing their business, so decreased the London economy? Have they just taken the bus? What is the actual total impact (on the UK, no just on the centre of London)?

If Livingstone has shown one thing, it is that the ruling elite can successfully screw ordinary drivers, which is a taste of things to come.

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