Fleet News

Council calls for public inquiry over London charging scheme

WESTMINSTER City Council has called for a public inquiry into congestion charging amid warnings that local businesses will be 'severely' disadvantaged by plans to charge drivers to enter central London.

Deputy leader Kit Malthouse says congestion charging will divide Westminster by penalising businesses for being on the wrong side of the charging zone.

Malthouse said: 'Fleet operators and businesses will be faced with a choice. They can absorb the cost of the congestion charge and make less profit, or they can pass the charge on to customers and risk losing business.' He added that congestion charging could lead to fleets operating out of normal working hours to escape the 7am to 7pm charge.

But a spokesman for Transport for London (TfL) stressed that congestion was already costing businesses operating in London millions of pounds a week, and added that the charge would deter unnecessary journeys making deliveries easier and quicker.

Derek Turner, managing director, TfL street management, said: 'Traffic in central London will fall to summer holiday levels all year round - and that is based on worst case assumptions. Predictions for other times of the day show even greater improvements will occur.'

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