18 May 2020
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced that the Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Low Emission Zone (LEZ) will be reinstated on Monday 18 May, “to prevent London’s roads from becoming unusably blocked”.
To support NHS staff, the congestion charge reimbursement scheme is being extended and will also be open to care home workers.
Mr Khan and Transport for London (TfL) have put forward plans to transform parts of central London into one of the largest car-free zones in any capital city in the world.
This is necessary, he said, to enable safe social distancing on public transport in London as lockdown restrictions are eased, and will help support increased walking and cycling as well as improving the city’s air quality.
The Government has said that it is prepared to provide a package worth £1.6 billion to protect TfL services.
As a Government condition when agreeing this funding deal, it is proposed to review the Congestion Charge. As a temporary measure, and to support the transformation of London’s streets, it is proposed that the Congestion Charge will increase to £15 next month and that the hours of operation will be extended.
It will run from 7am to 10pm, seven days a week, from 22 June.
Requesting Londoners not to use public transport unless it is absolutely unavoidable, the Mayor said: “We will need many more Londoners to walk and cycle to make this work. That’s why these plans will transform parts of central London to create one of the largest car-free areas in any capital city in the world.”
Some streets will be converted to walking and cycling only, with others restricted to all traffic apart from buses, as part of the Mayor’s Streetspace measures.
Streets between London Bridge and Shoreditch, Euston and Waterloo, and Old Street and Holborn may be limited to buses, pedestrians and cyclists to help boost safe and sustainable travel.
Access for emergency services and disabled people will be maintained, but deliveries on some streets may need to be made outside of congestion charging hours, TfL said.
The Low Emission Zone will continue to be enforced at the current standard (Euro IV) until early March at the earliest, when new tighter regulations are to be brought in.