Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pound]5 Car Tax Just to Buy Petrol over the Road

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

[Pound]5 Car Tax Just to Buy Petrol over the Road

Article excerpt

Byline: COLIN FREEMAN

A DRIVER is facing a [pound]5 payout every time she wants to fill up at the garage across the road from her home - because she lives on the edge of Ken Livingstone's proposed congestion charging zone.

Anna Selby's house on the New Kent Road lies just outside the south London boundary where the charging zone will begin, while the BP garage yards across the road lies just within it.

When the [pound]5a-day charge eventually comes into force, she will have to pay in full when she wants to fill up with petrol - making it effectively offlimits.

"It's like having the Berlin Wall on your doorstep," said Ms Selby, 42, a writer. "I know everybody wants to reduce congestion, but I don't see how it will help if it stops people making routine visits to the local garage or supermarket."

She anticipates that thousands of others whose houses border the charging area will face similar problems in accessing local services and shops.

While residents within the zone will get an automatic 90 per cent exemption, those who live just outside will get no concession whatsoever.

Transport for London, the Mayoral body overseeing the scheme's implementation, has ruled it out on the grounds that it would overcomplicate the system hopelessly.

Ms Selby added: "I don't see that it would be too complicated to have some kind of graded system where people living nearby got, say, 75 per cent off, as their daily routines will obviously be affected.

"Where I live is likely to become busier anyway because of people trying to avoid the congestion zone."

Ms Selby is, however, likely to have to pay the [pound]5 daily fee anyway as she drives her nine-year-old son to a private school in Victoria every day.

Like many inner-London parents who choose to educate their children at schools outside their local area, she says there is no alternative but to take them by car at present. …

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