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Westminster threat to block congestion charge


LONDON'S WESTMINSTER council is to try to stop London Mayor Ken Livingstone's congestion charging plan after he turned down a call to widen the residents discount scheme.

Westminster had offered to drop its bid for a judicial review of the charging scheme if Livingstone agreed to include all of its residents in the discount scheme.

Half the borough's residents live just outside the charging zone and face the full £5 charge every time they enter the area.

Residents inside the zone get a 90% discount.

'We offered to go to mediation which the mayor refused, ' said Westminster City Council.

'We then came up with a package of measures including the discount, an environmental impact assessment and traffic management measures designed to mitigate and ameliorate the scheme for our residents.

They rejected that.'

Lawyers acting for Westminster will claim the mayor 'failed to obtain all the necessary information needed to confirm the scheme order'. Westminster also says an environmental impact assessment should have been carried out and claims the decision not to hold a public inquiry was unlawful. Finally, it says, Livingstone breached the 1998 Human Rights Act by not safeguarding the rights of those affected by the scheme.

A GLA spokesman told NCE that it was confident of winning a judicial review. 'There is no reason in law why we should have ordered either a public inquiry or an environmental impact assessment.

'The mayor spent 18 months consulting on the draft transport strategy and transport strategy followed by 16 weeks formal consultation on congestion charging. He took on board comments and significant changes have been made to the scheme.'

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