Accidents drop by 5 per cent and traffic by 15 per cent in London zone

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The Independent Online

Road accidents in central London have fallen by 5 per cent since the introduction of the congestion charge, researchers have found.

Road accidents in central London have fallen by 5 per cent since the introduction of the congestion charge, researchers have found.

More Than, a car insurance company, says its research showed that traffic levels in London were down by 15 per cent, and congestion was down by 30 per cent in the year after the scheme was introduced. Congestion charging was introduced two years ago, and more than 100,000 people now pay the fee on average each day.

David Pitt, head of More Than, said: "The London congestion scheme has had a positive impact in significantly reducing the number of accidents in the charging zone. "Our report shows that applying similar measures in other cities could reduce traffic by about 23 per cent and accidents by up to 13 per cent."

Campaigners against the charge dismissed the research as nonsensical.

Michelle Wininger, of the West London Residents' Association, is working to stop the congestion charge being extended into west London. "It's a contradiction and I would dispute their figures. If the figures are down then why do they want to bring in speed cameras and more road humps? I don't think the evidence is there."

An early assessment of the scheme by the Metropolitan Police found it had a limited impact on operational policing. A spokeswoman said: "Road traffic accidents where people were killed or seriously injured were down by 20 per cent in the year to April 2004 [in all of London].

"The charge does lead to less congestion but it also leads to traffic going faster; both factors have an impact." She said it was difficult to provide figures for accidents in the congestion zone, as smaller incidents were often not reported.

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