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Greens expose London Mayor’s attempt to con Londoners over motorway bridge tolls

Mayor Livingstone is due to consult people in East London about the proposed motorway bridge and this raises concerns for Greens. Jenny argues that the Mayor has no clear idea of how the local toll scheme will work, who it will affect and how much it will cost to run, this will allow people to be mislead on true price of the scheme.

Commenting on the situation, Jenny said, “The results of the Mayor’s public consultation will be totally misleading. He still hasn’t a clear idea of how much traffic the bridge will generate or which East London roads will be faced with gridlock. He has deliberately delayed the assessment of the environmental impact until after the public consultation.”

Jenny continued, “The Mayor will be asking people in Lewisham to agree to a road bridge, saying that they will pay £1 a time to use it. But we can guess that they will probably have to pay at least double that, as the local tolls idea will be scrapped at a later date as it becomes too expensive to run.”

It is estimated that the tolls from the new bridge will raise around £20m a year. Despite the large scale of this operation, the likely running costs for running a local toll scheme were not included in the report to Transport for London which approved the scheme through the Mayor’s casting vote.

Even if the scheme only covered people living in Newham and Greenwich on either side of the bridge, more people would be affected by this scheme than by congestion charging. If it also covered other Thames Gateway boroughs, it would cost even more to run. Demands for exemptions and the ongoing running cost (including enforcement) would make the bridge less financially viable.

The proposed new six lane road, will enable around 17m vehicles trips a year to be made in a congested area of East London. Transport for London (TfL) expect the bridge to carry at least 4,400 vehicles during the two hour, morning peak period.

“Congestion charging has raised national headlines because an extra 200 vehicles (per hour) might be displaced onto some of the roads bordering the charging area. Meanwhile, the London and national media are completely ignoring a new road being built which will bring at least 2,200 extra vehicles an hour onto the roads of East London during the morning peak period.”

NOTES FOR EDITORS

The administration for the central London congestion charging scheme costs around £80m a year to run. The tolls from the new bridge are due to raise around £20m a year. Despite this scale of operation, the likely administrative costs for running a local toll scheme were not included in the report to the December Transport for London Board meeting which approved the scheme on the Mayor’s casting vote.

ENDS

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