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THE LONDON CONGESTION CHARGE

Following the announcement by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan that the amount of the London Congestion Charge would increase to £15 a day, with longer hours of applicability  and extending to 7 days a week, I requested Greater London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore to ask the Mayor on my behalf what mandate - if any - he considered he had for these measures.

Mr Dismore declined to put such a question, arguing that in the current pandemic emergency situation the Mayor had no choice in the matter, because these measures were virtually ordered by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as a condition of the government's bailout of Transport for London.

I asked Mr Dismore if he could point to that part of Mr Shapps' relevant letter to the Mayor [14 May 2020] requiring the Mayor to make these changes to the Congestion Charge.

Mr Dismore pointed to paragraph 12h of the letter. In that paragraph, as a condition of the bailout, the Mayor is required to reintroduce the Congestion Charge and to "urgently bring forward proposals to widen the scope and level" of this Charge (and other Charges). 

So all the the Mayor was required to do was to reintroduce the Charge and to "urgently bring forward proposals" relating to its scope and level. He could, therefore, have simply (and "urgently") brought proposals forward.  The letter did not require him to implement them.

In summary, it was the Mayor's decision to increase the Congestion Charge to £15 a day, seven days a week. No-one else's.

Geoffrey Alderman
posted 9 June 2020

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