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GREENS WELCOME CONGESTION CHARGE AND CONDEMN COURT ACTION THREAT

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The Greens on the London assembly were delighted with today's ...
The Greens on the London assembly were delighted with today's announcementthat the mayor would go ahead with his congestion charge scheme for central London. Greens have stood firm in their support for the mayor's plans to tackle the chronic traffic congestion. They have also attacked the threat of legal actionby Westminster LBC, as betraying their electors' interests.

Darren Johnson, leader of the Greens on the London assembly said: 'Greens are thrilled with this announcement, but we will continue pressing the mayor to make congestion charge as hard-hitting as possible. Londoners should be freed from the tyranny of poor air quality, delayed buses generated from ceaseless traffic jams. We urgently need to reduce the amount of traffic in London and fully support the introduction of the congestion charge scheme'.

Darren added: 'The threat of legal action to block the scheme is a politically motivated waste of council tax money by Conservative councillors who lost the Mayoral elections and have now lost the public debate.'

A Mori poll in March last year showed that majority of Londoners in favour of the Mayor's congestion charging scheme. The poll was particularly interesting because it showed that the majority in favour of congestion charging was biggest (56% in favour and 36% against) amongst the central London constituents of the Tory councils who are now threatening court action to block it.

Darren Johnson added: 'Greens hope this is a first step towards broadening the scheme across the rest of London. We will be encouraging the mayor to enter the 2004 mayoral elections on the platform of extending the London congestion charge zone westwards into Kensington and establishing another zone around Heathrow Airport. We will be watching the mayor closely to ensure he implements a scheme which is tough enough to work.'

Jenny Jones, the Green transport speaker on the London assembly said: 'We are delighted that the mayor is going ahead with this. Congestion charging will be cheered by many Londoners. A recent Mori poll found that traffic congestion was the rated an urgent priority by 59% of Londoners. Congestion charging is the only measure which has a chance of reducing central London traffic by 10 to 15% in the next couple of years.'

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