TfL announces temporary Congestion Charge hardening

Transport for London (TfL) has announced a temporary hardening of the London Congestion Charge. This is to rise to £15 for smaller vehicles and is to operate between 07:00-22:00, seven days a week. The new measures are to kick in on 22 June.

The changes are designed to try to force more people to take active travel options such as walking or cycling as opposed to driving. Access to public transport is limited thanks to social distancing measures and there is a high chance that people will resort to driving their cars again. 

As lockdown measures have been lifted, even with many people still working from home, congestion levels have already reached similar levels to those before lockdown. There is a risk that congestion is set to increase considerably unless active travel is used by those living and working in the area – TfL believe that the levels could as much as double in this period.

With the new measures in place, the aim is to reduce car use by as much as a third and help nitrogen oxide (NOx) levels to fall by 11%.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “The Government was absolutely clear that TfL must bring forward proposals to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge. Coronavirus continues to present our city with unprecedented challenges but I am determined to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system.

“The reality is that due to social distancing requirements public transport can only carry a fraction of the number of passengers compared to pre-pandemic levels – even when we are back to running completely full services.

“While capacity on the network needs to be preserved for those people who need it most, we can’t allow journeys that were previously taken on public transport to be replaced with car trips.

“I am really proud that our world-leading Streetspace for London plans continue to move forward at pace, with 19,000m2 of additional space now created for walking and cycling.  Alongside the temporary changes to the Congestion Charge, this will enable millions more journeys to be made on foot or by bike and will keep our roads moving for Londoners who need to make essential trips.”