The London Congestion Charge has had its hours reduced, although the price remains the same and fees will still apply at weekends.
Motorists driving into the central London charging zone between 7am and 6pm on weekdays or between 12pm and 6pm at weekends and bank holidays will have to pay the £15 levy, Transport for London (TfL) has announced, with the changes taking effect on 21 February.
Before 22 June 2020, the Congestion Charge applied between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday and cost £11.50, but its price was then hiked up to its current level and its hours extended to between 7am and 10pm, seven days a week. This was done as a condition of TfL’s funding settlement with the Government.
The latest reduction in operating hours for the zone follow a 10-week consultation, which received 10,000 responses. The changes made as a result of this will be permanent, TfL says, and will address traffic issues in central London.
Plug-in hybrid cars recently lost their exemption to the Congestion Charge, while fully electric vehicles will remain exempt until December 2025. Resident discounts for those living within the charging zone have also been reinstated.
The charge will be suspended between Christmas and New Year’s Day, to allow drivers to visit their friends and family freely over the festive period.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said the new changes “strike a balance between reducing traffic and congestion and supporting London’s economy and residents”, but added that it was “vital” not to “encourage a car-led recovery and replace one public health crisis with another due to filthy air”.
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