Congestion Charge Extension Would Cut Wandsworth in Half

Upper Richmond Road border could mean £15 charge to go to the shops

The prospect of Wandsworth effectively being split in half by a Congestion Charge zone extension has been raised after a letter between the Department for Transport and Transport for London (TfL) was leaked..

The government has proposed the enlargement of the zone within the North and South Circulars to provide revenue which will reduce the amount of financial support they give to TfL. Mayor Sadiq Khan has described the proposal as ‘totally unacceptable’.

The extended zone is likely to share the same boundaries as the Ultra Low Emission Zone which is due to come into effect on 25 October 2021.

In Wandsworth this runs along northern side of the Upper Richmond Road on to West Hill down the A3, at the centre of Wandsworth it goes up Armoury Way then turns into Fairfield Street and down East Hill. It turns into Marcilly Road to North Side Wandsworth Common and then runs along the north of Battersea Rise on towards Clapham Common

At current rates it would mean that motorists would be charged £15 every time they drive within the zone.

It is understood that the charges will be enforced by number-plate recognition software on roads at this point with areas like Barnes and parts of Putney, Wandsworth and Battersea inside the boundary but Southfields and Wimbledon outside.

Most residents will not be liable to the ULEZ charge of £12.50 a day as it only applies to petrol cars that were registered with the DVLA after 2005 and are not at least Euro Standard 4 and diesel cars which were registered after September 2015 and are not at least Euro Standard 6.

However, exemptions for the Congestion Charge are much more limited. At the moment vehicles that meet Euro 6 standards (petrol and diesel), that emit no more than 75g/km of CO2 and have a minimum 20 mile zero emission capable range qualify for the 100% cleaner vehicle discount.

From 25 October 2021, the cleaner vehicle discount will change so that only battery electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are eligible. Then from 25 December 2025, the cleaner vehicle discount will be discontinued.

Unlike the ULEZ, blue badge holders are exempt from the Congestion Charge.

It is not clear at this stage if there would be a residents’ discount for the Congestion Charge. It was available to residents in the existing zone and meant that they only need to pay 10% of the charge i.e. £1.50 for every day they drive. However, the issue of new residents’ exemptions is currently suspended.

There has been widespread opposition to the proposals which the government has said are needed to shore up Transport for London’s finances due to the loss of passenger revenue during the pandemic. Other measures proposed include the removal of free travel from under 18s and senior citizens.

Transport Minister Grant Shapps has been coming under pressure from MPs from his own party to abandon the proposal and Tory Mayoral candidate, Shaun Bailey, has disassociated himself from the plan.

It is understood that the government is seeking to pressure TfL into more cost-cutting measures and have threatened to take over the transport organisation if sufficient progress has not been made.

The latest funding package for TfL is due to run out shortly and the organisation has said without an agreed financing deal with the government they may have to issue a section 114 notice which is the equivalent of bankruptcy for public sector organisations. This would mean they would only be providing the bare statutory minimum of bus and tube services.

October 27, 2020