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  News about Britain
March 2003
Each month, the background to a story about Britain.
This topic is now closed, but you can still read the story, and then read all the comments we received about congestion charging.

 
 
    Story summary

Motorists wishing to drive into central London will have to pay a toll from February 2003. London's (current) mayor Ken Livingstone hopes making drivers pay to enter the city centre will cut traffic by at least 10%.

   
 


Congestion charging

London has always been congested. But in recent years the situation has got worse. The average speed in London dropped to 9 miles an hour - that's slower than when Londoners drove around in vehicles drawn by horses.

So Ken Livingston, the first elected Mayor of London, decided to do something about the situation. The result is a Congestion Charge - a £5 fee that most vehicles entering central London now have to pay.

Some vehicles are exempt and don't have to pay the charge. Others - for example, cars belonging to people living in central London - qualify for a discount. But everyone else has to pay. Cameras all around the central area automatically read the number plates of cars. Drivers must pay the charge that same day - or they'll get a fine of £80.


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  We wanted to know what you thought about congestion charging:
What's the best way to control traffic in cities? What's the traffic like in a city you know? Do you think a congestion charge is a good idea?

You sent us your views, we posted them and you can read all the comments here
   
     
  BBC Links about congestion charging:
   
 
Your comments
   
 


Pablo R. Rivera
in Mexico writes:

I think congestion charge for every car tha will go to London Centre is a good idea, because in this way there will be less polluton and people will have better quality of life.


Panzer
in Hong Kong writes:

In my view of new policy which is related to add £5 fee on vechiles
entering the central regoin on London is much reasonable.No cities all over the world ,such as New York , Rome , Tokyo and so busy
cities , will be as bad as that of London.

Therefore,adding entering charge on vechiles entring the central regoin
of London may be a much better solution and unevitable. Furthermore, adding a entering charge on vechicles will bring about some advantages.

First of all,Increasing amount of vec- hiles entering London will increase the income of government.That mean the extra money can use be used to improve surrounding enviroment of London.

Furthermore,the extra income will reduce the burden of the government and it will not add more tax for solving the finanical problem and deficit.Most of the pepole may feel glad because of getting rid of the chance of adding tax.

The most important advantage is that the traffic jam will be immediately improved. However , more and more traffic problems will appear as soon.The solutions of problems will depend on all of people cooperation.

Alejandro Sanmarco in Argentina writes:

I live in a little town where there are no traffic, only we have horses and chickens. Maybe you think that it is a joke, but it is the real life in my town. I think congestion charge for every car tha will go to London Centre is a good idea, because in this way there will be less polluton and people will have better quality of life.

Therefore,adding entering charge on vechiles entring the central regoin of London may be a much better solution and unevitable. Furthermore, adding a entering charge on vechicles will bring about some advantages.


Gaspar Buforn Sellés in Spain writes:

I don't think paying for driving through a city is the best way of avoiding traffic jams. Maybe this is the quickest and easiest solution but we have a big tax burden, nobody is happy paying more taxes, are they? Persuading citizens to use other healthier and smaller means of transports such as bikes or micro cars run by vegetable oils is much a better solution for everybody.



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London Mayor, Ken Livingstone Congestion Charging sign London Traffic London Traffic London Traffic London Traffic £5 per day congestion charge sign