Mayor tells LBC he 'won argument' and C-charge won't extend to North and South Circular

3 December 2020, 11:18

By Maddie Goodfellow

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has told LBC that London's congestion charge will not extend to the North and South Circular after he "won the argument" against the Government.

During Speak to Sadiq on LBC, the mayor was asked how he can justify extending and increasing the C-charge in a "time of crisis".

"So the way it worked it that the government said to me and TfL yes we accept you've lost 90 per cent of your customers because Londoners did the right thing and didn't use public transport," he explained.

"But the government said that rather than giving us a blank cheque for 18 months like they did for privatised train operating companies, we're going to give you a six month cheque and attach conditions.

"One of those conditions it that I must reintroduce the congestion charge, which I had suspended, and the other condition is to raise it from £1.50 to £15.

"And they also said if I didn't accept those conditions, I won't get support from the government, meaning TfL wouldn't be able to run its service and we would have to reduce tubes, buses, trams and the overground at a time where we are increasing the services to get people back out after the lockdown."

Under the terms of the second TfL Covid bailout agreed with the Government, the new £15 C-charge is expected to remain in force seven days a week permanently to help pay for free travel for under 18s and Londoners aged 60-65.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps proposed the measures, for which in return TfL would receive six months of rescue funding lasting from now until March next year.

He wrote to Mr Khan saying that the Government would take "reserve legislative powers allowing us if necessary to direct TfL" if the measures were not followed.

Mr Khan continued: "The second part of this story though is that the government said to me that you have to extend that congestion charge to go up to the north circular and down to the south circular.

"You'll be pleased to know we won that argument and the congestion charge will not be extended to reach the north and south circulars, but they still want us to do so.

"I am resisting that."

It was initially proposed that as well as increasing the cost of the C-charge, it was also extended from central London to the North and South Circular roads.

However, these plans have now been abandoned, Mr Khan suggested.

Full details of the second bailout, which is worth up to £1.7bn, emerged last month after a letter from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to Mr Khan was leaked.

It revealed:

- Planning for Crossrail 2 is being shut down, with consultants being dismissed “as soon as possible” though the route will be “safeguarded”.

- TfL must prioritise the “urgent delivery” of a temporary walking and cycle ferry to help people currently unable to cross the Thames due to the closure of Hammersmith bridge.

- TfL must “support” a Government review of “the possible implementation of driverless trains” on the Tube.

- Plans to expand the £12.50-a-day ultra low emission zone from central London to the North and South Circular roads must continue as planned and come into effect on October 25 next year.