Mayor answers to London
Greenwich Congestion Charge
Question by Damian Hockney
In light of TfL figures released under FoI to the Association of British Drivers showing that the vast majority of Greenwich residents oppose any form of 'congestion charge' in the area, can the Mayor confirm that he will drop this option?
Answer by Ken Livingstone (2nd Term)
I was approached by Greenwich Council and the local MP a couple of years ago to say that the problem with congestion at Greenwich is very severe; they were looking at a small and discrete congestion charge. We started commissioning work. We have looked at every available option between a very small and discrete one to something much larger that took in a great chunk of Lewisham and involved the Blackwall Tunnel. That work has now come back and has started going out to the public domain for consultation.
What we have discovered is Greenwich Town Centre is more congested than any other in London, perhaps by two to three times the average, and is a real problem. 60% of the traffic is through traffic and therefore is a genuine problem.
It may well be that Greenwich will wish to pursue a small and discrete zone, at perhaps two or three pounds, that does not impact on the A2 and does not impact on the Blackwall Tunnel. I have given a commitment that there will not be tolling on the Blackwall Tunnel because it is not justified that people in the East End of London crossing the river have to pay a toll but people on the bridges in west and central London do not. So this will not be a large zone.
I spoke to the Leader of Greenwich Council yesterday and said that any question of tolling could not be accepted and if Greenwich wishes to proceed with a small, discrete zone that impacts around their town centre and does not have a wider impact on the A2 that will be a matter for them and it would be one I would not stand in the way of. However, we have ruled out any of the wider concepts of a very substantial zone charge. I will be happy to pass you the various documents about the three scenarios we looked at at the end of the meeting.
It is now purely back to Greenwich. This is a borough matter. If Greenwich wishes to have a small discrete zone that does not impact on neighbouring boroughs, that¿s up to them, but there will not be any tolling of the Blackwall Tunnel ¿ I have given that commitment right the way through my period as Mayor ¿ and there cannot be anything that impacts on the A2 because the impact then on Lewisham is unacceptable.
This makes the case for looking at a national road-pricing scheme that deals with individual roads. It demonstrates that congestion charge has an application to the busy city centre but not to a suburban town centre.