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ELB Partners, an award-winning London haulage company involved in delivering essential equipment to the UK’s Nightingale hospitals has criticised the London Mayor’s decision to not only re-introduce but increase the Congestion Charge in the city as “insane.” 

ELB Partners said the decision to re-commence the charge as well as the Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) from Monday 18 May will mean businesses such as theirs will have to pass on the cost to customers at a time when the economy is “already on its knees.”

The re-introduction of the congestion charge is bad enough but the planned increase to £15 per vehicle from June 22 is insane,” said managing director, Peter Eason. „There has also been a mission creep in terms of the cost with plans to stretch the charges later into the evening and at weekends.

“I understand the need for the charge to stop cars coming into the centre, but vital deliveries do not stop and this 30 per cent increase is going to impact logistics businesses dearly at a time when they can least afford it – we will simply have to pass those costs on,” added Peter, whose business has secured FORS Gold for a record uninterrupted six years and is marking 50 years in business.

Congestion Charges reintroduced in London

Transport for London (TfL) announced that the Congestion Chargewould be restored in London on 15th May. TfL said, charges apply between 7 am and 10 pm, seven days a weekLEZ (the charge of entering into the Low Emission Zone) and ULEZ (the charge of entering into an Ultra Low Emission Zone) have also been in force since 18th Monday.

The reason for the sudden re-introduction and increase of the charges is a deal between the British government and the city of London. The government had been in discussions about a financial support package to help Transport for London (TfL), which was experiencing financial difficulties even before the coronavirus hit its fare income. Due to the lockdown, the revenue income of TfL fell massively, as London tube journeys decreased to 6% of the normal average. The government is willing to help the Transport for London with a £1.6 billion aid, but it has conditions. One of these requisites is the increase in the congestion charge from £11.50 to £15 from 22 June.

Government bailout

The costs imposed by Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan are to try and claw back some of the £1.6 billion government bailout for Transport for London.

The criticism is echoed by the Road Haulage Association (RHA), which has warned that the “shockingly nonsensical” and imminent reactivation of London’s vehicle charging schemes will choke business recovery as it ignores the economic impact the pandemic is having on firms operating in the capital.

It’s incredibly late notice and far too early to re-impose crippling levies when firms are trying to salvage what’s left of their businesses. The economy will only recover with pragmatic political leadership at national and local levels clearing away the hurdles to help businesses back on their feet” – RHA chief executive, Richard Burnett, said. – “But London has chosen a different path – adding weight to the view that its leaders fail to grasp the logic that an economy only thrives when goods can be moved efficiently.”

The move comes amid wider RHA concerns about the mayor’s plans to ‘reallocate’ road space and the practical and economic impacts these will have on firms delivering in the capital.

Photo: Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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