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C-Charge not to be extended

Public opposition to road tolls as expressed in last year's Number 10 website poll has killed any immediate ambition within Transport for London (TfL) to extend congestion charging to the capital's outer boroughs.

TfL managing director of planning Michele Dix told an audience of international politicians and transport experts that enthusiasm for further charging in London had been suppressed by the online petition which attracted 1.8M signatories (NCE 15 February 2007).

"It (the petition) made Government turn off charging which has made it difficult for us," she said at the La Fabrique de la Cite forum organised by Vinci.

Transport Secretary Ruth Kelly ruled out national road pricing in March.

"If road user charging was to be extended, we would have to make it more acceptable," Dix said. "We would have to improve public transport and acceptance that there is a congestion problem."

Dix admitted that congestion in the capital, which had initially fallen 30%, was back to its pre C-Charge levels because the freed-up road space created by a 21% drop in traffic had been reallocated to other uses.

She also blamed the proliferation of holes in the road created by various utilities and said TfL was working with the London boroughs to limit the impact of these.

"We are developing a common permit scheme with the boroughs to help control the impact of the works," she told NCE.

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