Motorists heading into Central London are dealing with an enlarged congestion charge zone from today. Mayor Ken Livingstone has doubled the area in which drivers are liable to an £8, or D;12 daily charge, extending the zone to the West. He claims the existing charge has reduced congestion in Central London by about 20%, and air-quality is better because of lower carbon dioxide emissions.
But critics point out that 55,000 car-owners who live in the new zone are now eligible for a 90% discount on the charge, and that could lead to even more congestion in the centre of the capital. Transport for London believes traffic levels in the new zone will fall by up to 15% as a result of the extension, but local residents say small shops and hotels will suffer.