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London congestion charging could be suspended


LONDON'S CONGESTION charging scheme could be suspended if monitoring shows that traffic congestion is too high on the boundaries of the scheme, Transport for London (TfL) said last week.

Greater London Assembly members claimed this week that TfL had said that when the scheme is launched next year, the £5 charge will be suspended if tailbacks on key roads get too long.

But the Assembly's congestion charging scrutiny committee fears that TfL has not done enough to relieve potential congestion hot spots on the boundary of the charging zone. These are where motorists are expected to divert to avoid paying and include areas near Tower Bridge, Kennington and Vauxhall Bridge.

Next week, London Mayor Ken Livingstone is expected to officially approve the scheme.

TfL sought to reassure assembly members at a recent presentation on how the scheme would be monitored.

'We've been assured that the monitoring system that TfL will put in place will be able to tell very quickly if something is going wrong and that the scheme will be suspended until it is sorted out, ' said Assembly congestion charging scrutiny committee chair Lynne Featherstone.

Monitoring, which will include 250 TV cameras, will swiftly build up statistics on congestion that will be compared with 'baseline figures' that are deemed acceptable.

A TfL spokesman said that, while adjustment of traffic signals to relieve tailbacks was far more likely, it would be in the Mayor's power to suspend the scheme.

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