Congestion Charge increases – AA reaction:
Commenting on the increases to Congestion Charges announced by TfL, Edmund King, AA president, said: “Even though TfL were between a rock and a hard place in terms of finances, these hikes are taking the charges from a ‘congestion’ charge to a ‘taxation’ charge. Traffic at weekends and in the evenings is at its lowest ebb and hence this is no longer a congestion charge.
“There are just 10,000 park and ride (Tube) spaces in London so emergency measures should be brought in to set up park/cycle facilities at the O2, Stratford and other locations.
“It is different to justify the weekend charge at all and in due course this will backfire on trying to get things back to normal in terms of encouraging Londoners back to retail, leisure, arts, and religious activities.
“The only saving grace may be a rush for more Londoners to buy electric vehicles in order to avoid the charges.”
Now is not the time to reintroduce charges in London, says BVRLA:
The BVRLA has expressed bemusement at the decision to reintroduce and raise the capital’s emission zone charges, at a time when businesses and families are facing unprecedented levels of financial hardship.
This follows today’s announcement from the Mayor of London confirming that emission zone charges will be reintroduced on Monday 18 May and from 22 June the penalties for non-compliant vehicles entering the city will be increased by 30%.
Congestion charge will rise from £11.50 a day to £15 and the hours of operation are being extended to 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, instead of just weekdays.
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has said that the move is to help fill TfL’s financial black hole created by the coronavirus.
“The timing of this is the issue.” Says BVRLA Chief Executive, Gerry Keaney. “Both central government and local authorities across the UK are currently digging deep to support businesses through this crisis. Now is not the time to hit people with extra costs at short notice.
“The Government is looking to industry to kickstart the economy and the decision to reintroduce and increase charges to drivers and fleet operators risks stifling businesses who are doing their best to keep on with the important job of transporting people and goods across the capital.
“We would have preferred to have seen a continuation in the suspension of charges to give businesses more time to get on their feet. More notice would have also been welcomed as this will hit commercial vehicle operators particularly hard.”
BVRLA members are leading the way with the transition to cleaner vehicles and our rental and leasing members stand ready to provide Clean Air Zone-compliant vehicles to those who do not want to use public transport and cannot walk or cycle to work in the capital.
The association will continue to engage with Transport for London to ensure that they understand the valuable role that the rental, leasing and car club sectors can play in achieving a greener transport network.