The London CONgestion charge
"MOTORISTS PAY £38 BILLION A YEAR IN TAXES, WHICH IS ONE TENTH OF ALL GOVERNMENT INCOME"
Regardless of what anyone might say to the contrary, the London congestion charge scheme is really nothing more than a grand con, created for no purpose other than to extort money from vehicular road users, who incidentally in the UK already pay a higher road tax to use the national highway system than most elsewhere in the world.
All other excuses or reasoning put forward by those responsible for implementing the scheme - and by those ignorant of true fact - is nothing more than hogwash, albeit very carefully constructed hogwash.
To state that the scheme is designed to reduce congestion and carbon emissions in central London is baloney. It does, and has done, neither. With a fee of £8 to travel within the congestion charge area - a price affordable by most - the argument fails. If the fee was £150, it might hold reason. But then £150 would create an outrage. Eight pounds is a small enough amount to seemingly not bother most folk, the majority of whom simply blithely pay the required fee. But 30,000 times £8 per day is a handsome sum of cash. Just where does it go? It is estimated that the charge raised £148million in 2005 from tickets and a further £45million in non-payment 'fines'.
Many who don't wish to pay the £8 fee still travel to London by vehicle, simply choosing to avoid the congestion charge area. Likewise if the fee was £150 to enter the designated 'congestion area', those unwilling or unable to pay the toll would remain outside of the charging area, yet still within inner London. So the reduction in emissions is a false argument. A better argument would be to ban all trafic within central London other than essential deliveries and public transport. But, again, that would create outrage.
In reality, all the congestion charge has effectively accomplished - other than to raise lots of money - is to shift the bulk of the traffic from the congestion zone area to the surrounding area. If the true motive was the reduction of emissions and pollution, why then is there no move the ban ALL traffic - to ban ALL industry pollution, to ban ALL air travel as jet airliners are among by far the biggest polluters, to ban ALL trains, which rely on heavilly polluting fossil-fuel-based power generating systems.
Why is there no real movement towards the creation of environment-friendly fuel systems, based on battery power and charged using electricity produced by the much cleaner eco-friendly systems such as wind power and hydro-power, although the latter is still an environmental risk when reployed on a large scale?
And finally, I personally view the congestion charge as a fee imposed on people for the ‘privilege’ of visiting their own capital city.
Article by Keith Harris, newsmedianews editor
Wednesday, 13 September, 2006
CONgestion charge interactive map
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