Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Shelves Plan to Scrap C-Charge Western Zone; Mayor Blames U-Turn over Scrapping Western C-Charge on Lack of Cash

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Boris Shelves Plan to Scrap C-Charge Western Zone; Mayor Blames U-Turn over Scrapping Western C-Charge on Lack of Cash

Article excerpt

Byline: Katharine Barney City Hall Reporter

PLANS to scrap the western extension of the congestion charge zone have been delayed by up to a year Boris Johnson admitted today.

The Mayor had promised to abolish the charge "by and hopefully before" after a public consultation which was a key part of his election campaign.

But today, after the Standard revealed the plan had stalled, Mr Johnson conceded the zone could still be in place throughout next year.

Writing on his Twitter site he said: "Let's be crystal clear about this. The WEZ will be removed by the end of next year. Amen."

The move comes amid a growing financial crisis for Transport for London.

It is facing falling passenger numbers and the prospect of deep cuts in public funding -- as well as escalating budget demands for Tube upgrades.

Mr Johnson made his announcement last November to much fanfare that he was scrapping the zone.

At the time he said: "We could have ignored the data like the last mayor but we will not do that. I want to remove

Mayor blames U-turn over scrapping western C-charge on lack of cash this tax by 2010 and hopefully before. It will be great for this part of London which is already struggling and it is absolutely the right thing to do, especially from an economical point of view."

Today the Mayor's office said there would be a delay but said they could not name a date for legal reasons.

Mr Johnson announced the extension would go last November but for legal reasons had to carry out another consultation .

This was supposed to be completed this summer, but has been delayed to tie in with consultation for the Mayor's transport strategy, due out next month.

It means it would be impossible to abolish the zone by spring 2010. Removing the zone would lose TfL between [pounds sterling]55 million and [pounds sterling]70 million in revenue and there are fears an extra 30,000 cars would enter the area each day, adding to pollution.

The scheme was introduced by Ken Livingstone in 2006. Mr Johnson last year said the figure of [pounds sterling]70 million generated from the zone had been exaggerated and the lost revenue could easily be found in TfL's [pounds sterling]8. …

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