Have your say on proposed changes to the Congestion Charge

Closed 28 Sep 2018

Opened 6 Jul 2018

Results Updated 19 Dec 2018

We have published our Report to the Mayor which explains the outcomes of our consultation in July 2018, together with our response to the issues raised by respondents.

Changes to the Congestion Charge - Report to the Mayor on the consultation (PDF 6.90MB)

Following the consultation and having considered the issues raised, the Mayor has decided that:

  • The current Ultra Low Emission Discount to the Congestion Charge will be replaced with a new Cleaner Vehicle Discount in phases, starting from 8 April 2019
  • Although Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) which are designated as wheelchair-accessible and are being used to fulfil a private hire booking in the zone will remain exempt, all other PHVs will no longer be exempt and will need to pay the Congestion Charge from 8 April 2019, if they wish to drive in the zone during charging hours. PHVs which meet the criteria may register  for the new Cleaner Vehicle Discount
  • We will amend the Congestion Charging and Ultra Low Emission Zone boundary at Old Street roundabout as we described in our consultation. We had proposed to make this change from 8 April 2019.  However, because the works to upgrade Old Street roundabout are now due to start earlier than we had expected previously, we have removed the date that the boundary change would take effect in the ‘Variation Order’ which makes it possible to operate the Congestion Charge. We will give a minimum one-month’s notice before making a change to the boundary at Old Street, and there will be new signage for drivers to make clear the point at which the boundary begins
  • We will also make those more minor changes to the Congestion Charge Variation Order which we had proposed, including removing the reference to the requirement to display a vehicle licence.

Useful links and other information

Further information about the Congestion Charge is available on our website, including:

The timings of the phases of the Cleaner Vehicle Discount and how to register for it

Private Hire Vehicles which are designated wheelchair-accessible

How to pay the Congestion Charge

Also available is the confirmed Variation Order which make it possible to operate the Congestion Charge

Overview

 

Update - 3 October 2018

Our consultation on proposed changes to the Congestion Charge closed on Friday 28 September.  We are now collating the issues raised for the Mayor, who will consider all of the points raised and will then decide whether or not to confirm the proposals as described, or to make changes to them. We will publicly announce the Mayor’s decision when he has made it. We will also publish our Consultation Report in full at this time. 

Introduction

London’s Congestion Charge, when it was first introduced in 2003, was a huge success.  There was a 15 per cent reduction in traffic in the Congestion Charge zone, which led to a 30 per cent reduction in congestion, as well as improvements in air quality.  Without a doubt, congestion in central London would be much more significant if the Congestion Charge scheme were not in place.  

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy, published in March 2018, uses the Healthy Streets Approach to plan our streets and transport networks, which encourages people to use active, efficient and sustainable modes of transport, and reduce car use. As part of this, we need to keep the Congestion Charge under review, to ensure it remains effective in reducing the use of cars in central London and helps create streets where people choose to walk, cycle and use public transport.  We have found that average delays to journeys within the zone have been increasing.  This is partly because there are an increasing number of vehicles entering the zone which are exempt from the charge or which receive a 100 per cent discount.  Currently, only around 50 per cent of the vehicles entering the zone during charging hours are liable to pay the full amount.  

As a result, we believe that it is necessary to make two changes to the discounts and exemptions available for the Congestion Charge.  These changes are designed to reduce traffic and congestion which is expected to have a consequential beneficial impact on air quality and, in the case of updating the ‘green discount’, incentivise the use of low emission vehicles in the zone.  In addition to these two changes, we also propose a number of additional minor changes to the scheme, including amending the scheme boundary at the Old Street roundabout to reflect the planned improvements there.  

We would like to hear from anyone who has a view. At the close of our consultation we will present all of the issues raised to the Mayor, who will make a final decision on how to proceed.            

About our consultation

This consultation is concerned with several changes we propose to make to the Congestion Charge scheme.  The most significant changes are:

  • Replacing the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED) with a new phased Cleaner Vehicle Discount (CVD)
  • Removing the exemption to the Congestion Charge for most Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs)

We have considered what impacts these proposals might cause, and have described these in summary terms.  Our understanding of the impacts of the proposals has been aided by two independent reports we have commissioned.  The first, called the ‘TfL-PHV Congestion Charge study, was an assessment of the effect of the proposed removal of the PHV exemption on the private hire industry. The second was an Integrated Impact Assessment of our proposals.  We have published both reports in full.  We have also included a copy of the Variation Order to the Scheme Order which, if confirmed by the Mayor, would enable us to implement the changes we have proposed.

We also propose to make several minor changes, as follows:

  • Changing the boundary of the Congestion Charge zone at Old Street roundabout
  • Changing references to Driver and Vehicle Licensing Northern Ireland in the Scheme Order
  • Updating the reference to the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) commencement date in the Scheme Order

The changes to the Congestion Charge boundary at Old Street roundabout will also affect the ULEZ boundary from when the ULEZ is introduced in April 2019 to when it is expanded to inner London in October 2021. This is because the initial ULEZ boundary matches the boundary of the Congestion Charge scheme.

We would like to know any thoughts you might have about our proposals, including if you believe that they would cause any particular hardships for any group of road users.

We have prepared an online questionnaire, although you can also send us your own response in writing.  Our email address is consultations@tfl.gov.uk and our postal address is FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.  The closing date for comments is Friday 28 September 2018.

The following sections describe our proposals in more detail.  If you wish to complete our questionnaire without reading further details about our proposals, the link can be found at the bottom of this page.

About the Congestion Charge

The Congestion Charge zone is an area of central London where it is necessary to pay a charge of £11.50 (or £10.50 with Auto Pay) per day to drive a vehicle from 07:00 – 18:00, Monday to Friday.  The map below shows the extent of the current zone:

Your browser does not support inline PDF viewing.Please download the PDF.

To view a larger version of this map click here (PDF 561 KB)

There are currently a number of discounts and exemptions to the Congestion Charge.  These include an exemption for TfL Licensed PHVs with an active booking, as well as a 100 per cent ‘Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED)’ for vehicles which meet the Euro 5 emission standard and emit no more than 75g of CO2 per kilometre. 

This consultation is concerned with changes to the ULED and removal of the exemption for PHVs only, along with some additional minor changes.  We are not proposing to make any other changes to discounts or exemptions to the Congestion Charge at this time.  Should we propose any additional changes in the future to the discounts and exemptions, these would be subject to a separate consultation.

Click on each of the links below for further information about each aspect of our proposals.

Why replace the Ultra Low Emission Discount (ULED)?

Why remove the exemption to the Congestion Charge for Private Hire Vehicles?

Additional changes to the Congestion Charge

Further information about the impacts of our proposals on the Private Hire trade are included in the sections Why remove the exemption to the Congestion Charge for Private Hire Vehicles? and the Further Reading section below.

Further reading

We have commissioned two reports which examine the impacts of our proposals in detail.  Both are available to download:

  • An Integrated Impact Assessment, carried out by Mott MacDonald, which considers the likely health, equality, economic and business, and environmental impacts of our proposals
  • A study called the ‘TfL-PHV Congestion Charge study’, carried out by Cambridge Economic Policy Associates (CEPA), into the impact of the proposed PHV exemption removal on the Private Hire industry in London

Additionally, a Scheme Description and Supplementary Information document is available, which provides further background reading on our proposals.  A copy of the Variation Orders for the Congestion Charge, and the associated change to the ULEZ boundary, are also available.  If confirmed by the Mayor, this would make it possible for us to implement our proposals.

The Integrated Impact Assessment, report by CEPA, Variation Orders and a copy of the information on this website are also available to inspect in person during normal office hours from the address below. 

Transport for London, 5 Endeavour Square, London, E20 1JN

(Please ask for Andrew Miles, Engagement Specialist)

Next steps

Once the consultation has closed on Friday 28 September 2018, we will collate all of the responses and prepare a Consultation Report, setting out all of the issues raised. The Mayor will consider all of the points raised and will then decide whether or not to confirm the proposals as described, or to make changes to them. 

Depending on the Mayor’s decision, we propose to implement the proposed removal of the PHV exemption and phase one of the CVD on the 8 April 2019, with further phases of the CVD coming into force in 2021 and 2025. 

We will publicly announce the Mayor’s decision when he has made it. We will also publish our Consultation Report in full at this time. 

Have your say

We would like to know what you think about our proposals.

Please give us your views by completing the online survey below by Friday 28 September 2018.

Alternatively, you can:

You can also request paper copies of all the consultation materials and a response form by emailing consultations@tfl.gov.uk, or writing to FREEPOST TFL CONSULTATIONS.

 

Areas

  • Camden
  • City of London
  • Lambeth
  • Southwark
  • Westminster

Audiences

  • Stakeholders
  • Local residents
  • London Boroughs
  • Taxi trade
  • Taxi customers and other stakeholders

Interests

  • Policy