Motorists in west London will be celebrating a small victory today, as they drive – for free – along the now abandoned western extension of the congestion charge zone.

While their more central and easterly neighbours are hit by a rise in congestion charge from £8 to £10, those driving in Chelsea and Kensington will be enjoying their "Christmas present" from London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Labour has described the decision to drop the charge in west London as "one of the worst decisions the Mayor has ever made", with a loss of anticipated annual revenue for Transport for London of between £55m and £70m. Pollution and congestion in the area is also expected to rise.

But the Conservative Mayor, who promised in his election manifesto to listen to Londoners' views over the charge, said it proved he was a "man of his word".

A greener vehicle discount (GVD) of 100 per cent will also be introduced today across London to encourage people to switch to less polluting and more CO2 efficient cars.

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