ICE joins London Assembly in calling for smarter congestion charging

ICE has backed the Assembly Transport Committee’s new report “London Stalling”

Congestion remains a problem for London.
Congestion remains a problem for London.

ICE is backing a new report by the London Assembly calling for a reform of the congestion charge so that vehicles pay at peak times and for spending longer in the zone.

The report shows that congestion continues to pose a problem in the capital. The overall annual cost to London from traffic delays on busy roads is £5.5 billion. This figure represents a huge 30 per cent increase in just two years with the cost of delays for an average vehicle is £20.83 per hour.

It recommends that the Mayor reforms the Congestion Charge and ultimately replaces it with devolved road pricing. The Committee suggests a way of charging people for road usage that is targeted at areas of congestion, at the times congestion occurs.

The report also recommends that the Mayor and TfL work to encourage more delivery consolidation and more consolidation in new developments. Despite extensive construction activity there are only 12 consolidation centres for the sector in London.

Both these recommendations were influenced by the written and oral evidence provided by ICE London member from the Transport Expert Network (TEN) to the Committee.

ICE London Chair Lawrie Quinn also went on the air for LBC London and BBC Radio London to discuss the report.

Speaking on the report, Suzanne Moroney, Director of ICE London said:

"Today, we welcome the findings of the London Assembly Transport Committee into congestion on London's streets. This is an issue that not only affects the productivity of the capital's businesses, but more importantly, the physical and mental health of its residents.

"Investing in our road infrastructure is vital, but we must also use the limited road space we have to the best of our ability. Whilst the congestion charge has seen a reduction in traffic, it is increasingly clear that it isn't performing as well as it did in the early years following its introduction in 2003 and could be reviewed to take greater account of journey length and congestion peaks.

"Similarly, increasing the role that TfL plays in consolidation would help ensure delivery and freight vehicle numbers are reduced by ensuring these vehicles are not travelling to and from sites half empty. It is clear a greater leadership role needs to be taken so that consolidation services are available and this is a role we believe the Mayor could take."

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, Chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee said:

"Something dramatic has to be done about the enormous congestion problem on London's roads. The issue is costing our city money and costing Londoners their health and wellbeing. Transport for London (TfL) is doing a lot to tackle congestion, but not enough. Road pricing would be a fairer approach, as road users would pay according to how much they contribute to congestion.

It's a bold move – but our survey shows that road users are in favour and the current congestion charge is far too blunt an instrument and too narrow in scope.

Gridlocked London needs to start moving again and tinkering here and there is not going to achieve that. A total rethink about who uses our roads and how is imperative to get the veins and arteries of our great city flowing freely again."

ICE London would like to thank Lawrie Quinn and John Downes from the TEN for their contribution to the investigation.

Interested in assisting ICE London to develop its transport policy? Find out more about the London Transport Expert Network by emailing Max Sugarman at: max.sugarman@ice.org.uk.

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