Mayoral candidate to overhaul C-charge

03 September 2007

MP Boris Johnson has put an overhaul of London's congestion charge scheme at the centre of his bid to become the Conservative candidate for the city's mayor.

Outlining his policies, Johnson said he felt the £8 a day charge had failed to cut overall car usage in an effective manner.

'Almost every day someone asks me whether I will scrap the congestion charge and my answer is that I am not going to scrap something that was sensible in its objectives without a better solution,' said Johnson.

'But if it is meant to alleviate congestion, then it certainly is not working. If the decline in journeys within the C-charge zone has simply been matched by an increase in journeys around the perimeter then it is carbon neutral and an environmental fraud.

'I think there is scope for reform, and one of the priorities would be to use C-charge money to make sure that the people who are paying it actually have less congestion.'

Johnson did not outline any alternative scheme, although his aides indicated to the Evening Standard newspaper that he was investigating the potential of fitting satellite tracking devices to cars and charging them based on where they travel.

That raises the prospect of motorists being charged to drive across far greater areas than those covered by the current congestion charge zone.

Johnson, who is MP for Henley in Oxfordshire, has promised to become 'the greenest London mayor yet by providing more investment in cycle lanes and public transport than current incumbent Ken Livingstone.

The election for London Mayor will take place on May 1, 2008.

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