London announces car-free zones as congestion charge returns
London has announced plans for car-free zones in key parts of its centre as part of a major transformation of the capital as the UK prepares to ease travel restrictions.
Streets in the city centre, such as between London Bridge - Shoreditch, Euston - Waterloo and Old Street - Holborn may be limited to buses, pedestrians and cyclists to help encourage safe and sustainable travel.
This comes as part of the Mayor's Streetspace Plan, which aims to give more space for walking and cycling across the city in light of COVID-19. Temporary bike lanes, street closures and wider pavements are all planned. For more information, see here and here.
London has also announced plans to reinstate its congestion charge as the UK prepares to move into the next phase of the COVID-19 crisis. The congestion charge was suspended in late March as the UK went into lockdown. Now TfL has announced that the charge will come back into force from next week. The charge will run from 07:00 - 22:00 seven days a week. From 22 June the congestion charge will have a new price of £15, up from £11.50.
The measures are being re-introduced to avoid an increase in car use in the capital as lockdown measures start to ease in the UK. The low emission zone and ultra low emission zone - imposing levies on high-polluting vehicles - also comes back into operation on Monday.
This comes as TfL has announced major financial challenges from lockdown restrictions, with public transport use down by around 90%. Despite a bailout, TfL will continue to face gaps in income in the coming months.
To find out more about the congestion charge, see here.