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London congestion plans a 'dogs breakfast'

Ken Livingstone's proposals to make thousands of cars exempt from the congestion charge have been labeled a 'dogs breakfast' by a leading business lobby group.

London First, that represents the 300 biggest companies in London, warned that the mayor's proposals that would allow certain low polluting vehicles back into central London for free while charging "gas guzzling" vehicles more, would further clog up London's streets as motorists switch to low emitting cars.

"The Mayor's proposals are unlikely to work and he must not use taxpayer's money to increase congestion in the name of climate change," said chief executive of London First Baroness Jo Valentine.

"Politely, it's a dog's breakfast. By letting Fiestas, Puntos and Polos back into Central London for free, the Mayor will encourage more cars back onto our clogged up roads," she said.

She added that the new scheme would be complicated and costly and called on Livingstone to cut the charge for low emitting vehicles rather than scrap it.

"We must reduce emissions but a costly scheme that will have, at best, a minimal effect is not the right solution. By all means, reduce the charge to encourage cleaner cars.

"Business backed the original charge because it promised to reduce congestion. We aren't prepared to endorse a naive, green-washed proposal that represents a backwards step."

London First also called on the Mayor to accelerate local road pricing schemes across the capital to target traffic jam hotspots.

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