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London reinstates Congestion Charge and ULEZ

London has reinstated the Congestion Charge and Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ), as lock-down restrictions are eased in the capital.

Costs for entering the two zones were suspended when the coronavirus lock-down was announced, to help key workers make essential journeys.

Now that restrictions have been eased, the charges have been brought back in as of today (Monday 18th May). At the same time, a package of temporary changes is being proposed that would see costs increase, and restriction hours extended.

This is in a bid to help prevent London's roads from becoming clogged and unusable with increased numbers of people returning to work.

NHS staff will continue to be supported with a Congestion Charge reimbursement scheme, which is also open to care home workers. This will see costs reimbursed for journeys relating to coronavirus, including trips to and from work.

Londoners are being asked to walk or cycle for journeys from mainline stations rather than use the tube or buses. Car-free streets have been created in an effort to make journeys possible safely by foot or by bike.

Some streets are being closed to traffic completely, with only walking and cycling allowed, whilst others will be closed to all traffic apart from buses. Streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holborn may see restrictions brought in.

Waterloo Bridge and London Bridge may be restricted to walkers, cyclists, and buses only, with pavements widened to make travel across them safer. Transport for London (TfL) is looking at providing zero-emission capable taxis with access to both bridges, and other areas where traffic is restricted.

Messaging from the Mayor of London's office is that public transport must only be used when absolutely necessary.

As a temporary measure, and to support funding of transforming a number of London's streets, an increase to £15 for the Congestion Charge is being proposed next month, and the hours of operation extended. These temporary changes may see C-Charge hours extended from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, from 22nd June.

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: "Covid-19 poses the biggest challenge to London's public transport network in TfL's history. It will take a monumental effort from all Londoners to maintain safe social distancing on public transport as lockdown restrictions are gradually eased.

"That means we have to keep the number of people using public transport as low as possible. And we can't see journeys formerly taken on public transport replaced with car usage because our roads would immediately become unusably blocked and toxic air pollution would soar.

"I ask that Londoners do not use public transport unless it is absolutely unavoidable – it must be a last resort. If you can work from home you should continue to do so. We should all spend more of our leisure time in our local areas too."

"We will need many more Londoners to walk and cycle to make this work. That's why these plans will transform parts of central London to create one of the largest car-free areas in any capital city in the world."

Find out more about the Congestion Charge

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:18th May 2020

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