Livingstone to raise congestion charge to £8

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The Independent Online

London's congestion charge is to rise to £8 this summer, a 60 per cent increase on the £5 daily rate faced by drivers in the centre of the capital.

London's congestion charge is to rise to £8 this summer, a 60 per cent increase on the £5 daily rate faced by drivers in the centre of the capital.

The new levy is expected to raise up to £45m a year to reinvest in the transport strategy of the Mayor Ken Livingstone, and will come into force on 4 July, he said. It will be accompanied by measures designed to "reduce the hassle" of paying the charge.

Charges for company cars participating in a fleet scheme will rise from £5.50 to £7. People who pay the charge monthly will receive three charge-free days, and those who pay annually will have 40.

Mr Livingstone said: "Congestion charging has achieved its key objective of reducing congestion and has also provided an additional stream of revenue to help the funding of other transport measures within my transport strategy. The charge increase will maintain the benefits currently witnessed in the zone and build upon its success, cutting congestion even further and raising more revenue to be invested in London's transport system."

He added: "At the same time, a number of measures will reduce the hassle of paying the charge. Large discounts on monthly and annual payments will make the charge easier to pay for regular users and should lead to fewer penalty charge notices being incurred by drivers who forget to pay the charge."

The Mayor proposed the changes to the congestion fees in November.

The charge, which was introduced in February 2003, has been credited with reducing congestion in central London by 30 per cent, or by 70,000 vehicles. It raised £79.8m in its first year and was projected to raise about £100m annually in subsequent years.

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