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Londoners encouraged to submit views on proposed congestion charge changes

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Transport for London (TfL) is encouraging Londoners to have their say on proposed changes to the Congestion Charging scheme before the public consultation closes on Friday 8 February.

The proposed changes include the introduction of a new Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED), an increase in the penalty charge and the removal of the under-used retail (shop) payment channel.

The introduction of the proposed Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) would take place in July 2013 and provide a single 100 per cent discount from the Congestion Charge for electric and ultra low emission cars and vans.  To qualify for the discount vehicles will have to be either pure electric or be cars and vans that emit 75g/km or less of CO2 and meet the Euro 5 emission standard for air quality.

The ULED would replace the current Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) and the electric vehicle discount, and would ensure that only ultra low emission vehicles would be provided with a 100 per cent discount of the Congestion Charge.

While the ULED is technology neutral, no currently available diesel car would meet the criteria for the discount and this is unlikely to change for the foreseeable future.  Therefore, the proposed ULED will help tackle the increasing dieselisation of London's car fleet.  Over the past decade diesel car sales have increased from around 10 per cent to 50 per cent, partly as a result of low carbon vehicle incentives.  A Euro 4 diesel car emits about 22 times as much particulate matter as the equivalent petrol car.

Nick Fairholme, TfL’s director for Congestion Charging, said: “We are pleased with the number of responses we have received to the consultation so far but I want to encourage as many people as possible to submit their views on these proposed changes.  We do listen to our customers and have made significant changes to the scheme in recent years, including the removal of the Western Extension and the introduction of Congestion Charging (CC) Auto Pay, as a result of listening to these views.”

TfL is also seeking views on proposals to increase the penalty charge for the Congestion Charge from £120 to £130.  This would be only the third increase in the penalty charge since the Congestion Charge was introduced in 2003 and would bring the penalty charge in line with other moving traffic, bus lane and parking penalty charges within London.

Following the introduction of CC Auto Pay, an automated system for paying the Congestion Charge, less than one in ten payments of the charge is now made in shops or petrol stations.  As a result of that trend, and to reduce the costs of operating the scheme, the consultation is also proposing the removal of the retail payment option.  Drivers will still be able to pay the Congestion Charge using a wide range of other means including online, by phone, by text message or by CC Auto Pay.

More information on the consultation, including the supporting documents, is available from TfL’s website at: www.tfl.gov.uk/ccyourviews.  Visit the website to give your views on the proposals or call 0844 544 9780 for an information leaflet.

The consultation closes on Friday 8 February 2013.  TfL will then prepare a report for the Mayor setting out the comments received during the consultation.  The Mayor will then make a decision on whether or not to go ahead with the proposals with or without modifications.    

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