shutterstock_583754074 (1)

Another significant blow to the transport sector could come in the form of an extension of the Capital’s congestion charge zone, which has been suggested as a means of bailing out Transport for London (TfL).

The RAC said the government had demanded the current zone be extended to encompass “a huge geographical area”, which would hit businesses hard.

Logistics UK said it had written to transport secretary Grant Shapps in a plea to the government to think again about its demands to extend the charging zone to the North and South circulars and pointing out it would have little impact on HGV movements: “Logistics UK is urging the government to refrain from including an expansion of the London congestion charge as a condition of Transport for London’s financial bailout package,” said David Wells, Logistics UK chief executive.

“Logistics businesses continue to struggle financially and operationally as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and this additional burden would be a significant blow to the recovering logistics sector.

Read more

“With little alternative to using lorries and vans to keep the capital’s businesses, schools, shops and homes stocked with the goods and services they need, these changes amount to a tax on deliveries and would therefore have little effect on commercial vehicle movements.

“Instead, it would simply increase operating costs for those charged with delivering to meet the capital’s needs, including supporting the vulnerable and those self-isolating with home deliveries, during this difficult time.”

Earlier this year, the congestion charge rose to £15 and its hours of operation were extended.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Drivers in London have already faced hikes in the existing congestion charge zone this year, as well as an increase in its hours of operation, so the introduction of further charges is totally unreasonable.”

TfL did not respond.