Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Traffic Levels Dip in Planned Charge Zone. er, So Why the Extension, Ken?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Traffic Levels Dip in Planned Charge Zone. er, So Why the Extension, Ken?

Article excerpt

Byline: ROSS LYDALL

NEW figures have cast doubt on the need to extend the congestion charge zone into west London.

They show that traffic levels in the proposed area have been falling for years and in some boroughs are now lower than a decade ago.

It is the latest blow to Mayor Ken Livingstone, who claims the extension is necessary to cut the secondworst delays in the capital after central London.

The Department for Transport figures show that traffic has been falling in the two boroughs earmarked for the extension - Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea.

In Westminster, the total annual vehicle mileage has fallen from a 10-year peak of 673 million miles in 1999 to 648 million last year. This is also lower than the borough's 1994 figure of 668 million.

In Kensington & Chelsea, traffic has fallen each year since 1999, from 372 million miles to 361 million last year. A decade ago the figure was 359 million. London Assembly Liberal Democrats said the figures blew "a massive hole" in Mr Livingstone'sjustification for doubling the size of the charge zone by 2007. …

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