Coursework- Are Congestion Charges A Good Idea?

In the following essay I am going to answer the question: ?are congestion charges a good idea?? I shall be looking a t data, facts, opinions and trends- and will also look at how congestion charges are affecting health, the environment and the economy.

Some people agree with the congestion charge, and can produce many facts to support their view. My source one can also provide many facts and figures. Source one says that since the congestion zone was put into place, traffic had been cut by 18%, and delays were down by 30% Since the congestion zone has been bought in, the public transport in the city (TFL) has improved dramatically, with 29,000 more people using the service- which will mean much more money towards it?s improvement. Source one also says that the streets of London were ?clogged? and the heavy traffic on the roads was costing businesses approximately ?2 million a week. Research, polls and surveys also showed that 75% of Londoners supported the scheme ?because it works?. However, my Source two disagrees with the congestion charge, and in the source current London mayor Boris Johnson states how he plans to ?scrap? the extended zones altogether. Source two says that the move by Johnson follows a ?public consultation?, in which 67% of respondents (including 86% of businesses) said they wanted the extended zone lifted. On the other hand, this source also contains some contradicting points to Johnson?s declaration, made by the labour party. They state that the movement was ?not in the interest of Londoners?, and that it was a ?foolish and backward step?. They also produce figures such as: the Transport For London (TFL) will lose around ?70 million a year, which could be used on improving the service. Also, the pulling of the zones will increase traffic and air pollution in one of the ?dirtiest and noisiest areas in central London?. The air should also get worse, which is a ?disaster? for the 43,00 asthma suffers in London. My Source 3 shows facts on congestion, not only in London, but also other cities were the scheme is being thought about. This source shows that almost 86% of Britain?s traffic is in England, and that congestion has a number of consequences, such as causing delays and making journey times unreliable. This agrees with my evidence for the congestion charge. However, the source then goes on to say their research shows that traffic on key routes slows down around the times of 6:30am and 6:45am due to congestion, then returns to normal speeds around 9:30am- although the congestion charge applies during the times of 7:00am and 6:00pm- so surely the times should be earlier?

Congestion zones are reducing the amount of gases thrown into our atmosphere by motor vehicles. (only that particular area of course, but hey, it?s a start) Data that I have found shows that though levels of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Benzene are higher in the congestion zone- levels of each are dropping at a much faster rate than outside. This is because the areas of the congestion zone was one of the busiest in London, so the levels will naturally take time to decrease to the levels of outside. However, the rates are dropping faster because with the ?8.00 charge in place not many people will want to pass through the zone unless its necessary, so therefore there is less air pollution in the area due to a drop in vehicles. This data supports the congestion charges for safer air. One thing that congestion zones are doing as well as the previously mentioned, is reducing the risk of damage to the city. This is because the zones are dropping levels of SO2, which is essentially acid rain. In 2001, there average levels of SO2 were 4.274 in the zones, and the predicted levels for 2010, nine years later, is down to 1.138. This reduces the risk of damage because acid rain has an effect on Limestone (a material that a lot of statues are made out of) where by it almost eats away at it, so the zones because of this. Same with the levels of Benzene- a harmful bi-product of burning fuel. In 2001, the levels were at an average of 1.072, in 2010 the levels have been predicted to be around 0.658.

Source reliability can make all the