Congestion charging scheme gets Livingstone go-ahead

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Indy Politics

Motorists are to be charged £5 a day to drive into central London on weekdays, Ken Livingstone confirmed today.

The London Mayor's controversial congestion charging scheme will begin on February 17 2003. It will coincide with the start of the half term week when less morning rush­hour traffic is expected to help ease the introduction of the scheme.

Mr Livingstone, who signed the order giving the scheme its official go ahead at 9.45am today, said: "For the first time there will be a serious attempt to tackle the chronic traffic congestion in central London."

Motorists will be charged if they want to drive into a central zone between 7am to 6.30pm on Monday to Friday.

Approximately 230 cameras will be installed to take pictures of licence plates which will be checked with a central database to see if the daily fee has been paid.

Mr Livingstone believes the scheme will raise up to £150 million a year which will be used to improve public transport and cut congestion by 10 per cent to 15 per cent.