Residents Protest Extended Congestion Charge
Having just called the BBC out for their poor environmental performance, we’ll now have to thank them for the following story. It turns out that an extension to the London Congestion Charge which comes into force on Monday is meeting with some fierce opposition from the residents of Kensington and Chelsea. The fact that the original congestion charge has cut traffic by up to 20% in central London is not enough to convince many of those living in the extended charging area. They say that extending the charge is unnecessary, that it will divide communities in two, and that it will simply shift the traffic elsewhere.
A group of residents took to the streets to voice their opposition on Saturday, organizing a ‘go slow’. The areas of Chelsea and Kensington are generally considered to be wealthy, up-market parts of the capital, but protesters were adamant that this was not about protecting the rich:
"It is the politics of envy. It is totally wrong. This borough is very, very mixed, there are a lot of people on low incomes in north Kensington. They will all be hit by this. My husband is connected to a handful of restaurants in the West End financially. They are going to be hit badly."
Whether this opposition will endanger the viability of the extended charging zone will remain to be seen. Certainly it shows that not all of the solutions to traffic, congestion and transport emissions are going to be universally popular. ::BBC