Hammersmith and Fulham Council are calling on Mayor Boris Johnson to speed up the axing of the Congestion Charge’s Western Extension, claiming the worsening economic situation allowed him to scrap the extension “long before 2010”.
Last month the mayor announced the scheme would be axed after a majority of respondents to both an informal consultation and survey said they opposed it. Under the timetable set out in November, a 12 week statutory consultation will take place from summer 2009.
Assuming the Mayor’s final decision to scrap the extension, the earliest this could happen is 2010.
However, Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s Deputy Leader Nicholas Botterill says legal complications should be “overcome” and the process speeded up.
Cllr Botterill said: “During these tough economic times it is essential that The Mayor pushes on and moves as quickly as possible to scrap this invisible Berlin Wall. TfL needs to make a start on the formal consultation on the variation to the Mayor’s transport strategy so that the western extension is scrapped long before 2010.”
The Mayor’s decision to scrap the extension was welcomed by Liberal Democrats on the Assembly who said it “encouraged thousands of residents to drive into central London, putting the original scheme at risk.”
However Labour’s Val Shawcross said Johnson’s decision was “a foolish and backward step” which would “lose TfL £70 million a year that could have been spent on improving our public transport system and will increase traffic and air pollution in one of the dirtiest and noisiest areas of central London.”