COVID-19: London Increases its Congestion Charge for Safer Streets

The Eco Experts

From 22 June, London’s Congestion Charge, which covers around 1% of Greater London, will temporarily increase from £11 to £15 a day.

The Congestion Charge is a daily fee that motorists must pay if they drive within the Congestion Charge Zone between 07:00-22:00, every day except Christmas Day.

Plans to widen the level and scope of the Congestion Charge had already been put in place pre-pandemic, but as one of the conditions of a recent £1.6bn bailout deal between Transport for London and the government, TFL has had to bring them forward. 

The £3.50 increase has been brought in as the UK’s lockdown gradually eases, since COVID-19 cases have been decreasing. According to TFL, even with the Congestion Charge back in place, and a huge portion of people still working from home, the number of cars on the roads is back to the level it was at before the lockdown began.

“Coronavirus continues to present our city with unprecedented challenges but I am determined to ensure that we emerge from this pandemic with a cleaner, greener and more sustainable transport system” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

a view of London traffic

Though these charges are for anyone in the Congestion Charge Zone, people working at the heart of the COVID crisis will have their charges reimbursed. This includes those working for the emergency services, NHS staff, care workers, charity volunteers, or local authority workers – plus any vulnerable NHS patients.

Residents applying for a discount have until 1 August to submit their applications.

The temporary changes aim to make walking and cycling safer, and essential bus journeys more reliable during the pandemic, whilst also reducing pollutant emissions by up to 11%.

“It is not sustainable for London’s recovery to be dominated by cars. We are already seeing a surge in traffic and need to act now to stop the city grinding to a halt.

The temporary Congestion Charge changes are supporting our Streetspace programme, which will make it easier and safer for people to walk and cycle and keep the bus network reliable for those who need to use it.” – Alex Williams, TFL’s Director of City Planning

As London, and the rest of the UK, gradually become accustomed to post-pandemic life, it’s questionable whether things will go back to ‘normal’. Instead, governments and people in power are surging to create a new normal – one where we can move forward in a greener, healthier way. 

Written by:
Beth has been writing about green tech, the environment, and climate change for over three years now – with her work being featured in publications such as The BBC, Forbes, The Express, Greenpeace, and in multiple academic journals. Whether you're after a new set of solar panels, energy-saving tips, or advice on how to reduce your carbon footprint, she's got you covered.
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