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Delayed traffic forecast hits congestion charge plans

LONDON BOROUGHS are unable to plan for the impact of congestion charging because the mayor's transport department has delayed publication of vital traffic forecasts.

Earlier this year the Greater London Assembly congestion charging scrutiny committee ordered TfL to produce the data by Wednesday this week.

But TfL said on Monday that it would be unable to meet this deadline, although the information will be available later this month.

The committee represents the 33 London boroughs and has demanded the new data on the scheme so it can feed it through to the councils.

The scheme is due to go live in February and the boroughs need time to start planning their own traffic management measures.

'It's very difficult for a scrutiny committee to do its job unless it has reasonably up to date forecasts, ' said consultant Martin Richards, who is advising the committee.

'There are particular concerns about the impact of the scheme on areas around the charging area that need to be addressed as soon as possible.'

It is thought that TfL has had re-calculate its original forecasts after discovering anomalies in its traffic figures. These revealed that traffic levels in London were 16% lower than originally thought.

If this is true, expectations that congestion charging will cut traffic by between 10% and 15% could be dashed.

'It's a reasonable assumption and one that needs to be answered, ' said Richards.

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