The underground electric railway runs right through the congestion charge area, from Whitechapel to Paddington, with stops at sorting offices like the one at Mount Pleasant. It has carried letters and parcels beneath the streets of London for the last 75 years, but is due to close later this year. The 3.4 million bags of mail carried each year will generate 6,000 extra lorry journeys across London, around 20 a day.
The Post Office claims that operating the 6.5 miles of track costs five times more than using lorries. The congestion charge based on the principle that the polluter pays, helps to reflect the true cost of road travel by taking into account environmental costs like air quality, noise and road casualties. This should make rail travel more attractive.
The London Assembly Green Party Group has raised concerns that the Mayor’s congestion charge scheme might not be tough enough to work. They have pressed for lorries to be charge £15 a day and for the number of exemptions to be limited.
Jenny Jones stated that, “Royal Mail is being completely hypocritical in trying to claim exemption from congestion charging, whilst planning to put even more lorries onto London’s roads. This switch from rail to gridlocked, polluted roads is a prime example of what is wrong with our transport policies and our distorted economic system.”