Boris Johnson and Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy were in West London this morning to launch a new, five-week consultation on the future of the Western Extension of the Congestion Charging zone.
The Mayor is asking Londoners to comment on three options, keep the extension, retain a modified version or scrap it altogether. There will also be polling carried out to help determine support for each option. During their visit the Mayor and Mr Hendy met local shoppers and handed out leaflets setting out three option.
The extension was introduced by former Mayor Ken Livingstone in February 2007 and covers most of the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea and Westminster.
Speaking after this morning’s walkabout the Mayor aid “Whenever I head to the west of our city I meet people with strong opinions on the Western Extension. But when my predecessor held a consultation on this important issue he completely ignored its results. Unlike him I have the utmost respect for the opinions of Londoners and I hope that thousands of them will take part in the consultation.”
“I remain to be persuaded on exactly what we should do with the extension so this is a superb opportunity for anyone with an opinion to get involved and help influence my final decision. As well as the obvious options of keeping it or removing it, I would be very keen to know what Londoners think of suggestions such as having a charge-free period during the middle of the day.”
Mayor Johnson refuted suggestions that he was retreating from am implied election promise to scrap the extension and said he had no “dogmatic” stance on the issue which would be decided by the “wisdom of Londoners”.
Labour’s London Assembly transport spokesperson, Val Shawcross, has called on the Mayor to “carefully consider the environmental impact of the western extension – not just in west London but across the city. Pollution and CO2 emissions don’t recognise postcodes and we all breathe the same air. He should be consulting everyone effected by the future of the charge.”
City Hall has said anyone with an opinion on the issue “is invited to take part”.
An information leaflet and questionnaire are available online at tfl.gov.uk/westernextension or by calling 0844 415 4425.