The mayor signed Transport for London's congestion charge scheme Order, with modifications, this morning and has set the 'go-live' date as
Monday February 17 2003 - the start of half-term week - to ease the adjustment to the new charge.
Mr Livingstone said: 'As a result of what I am confirming today, for the first time there will be a serious attempt to tackle the chronic traffic
congestion in central London. On TfL's estimates the scheme will raise a net revenue of£130m-£150m annually.'
By law the revenue from congestion charging will be invested in improving the capital's transport system for at least 10 years.
The scheme Order confirms a charging zone within the Inner Ring Road and the£5 standard charge recommended by TfL. The mayor has also
decided the charging hours will run from 7am to 6.30pm, Monday to Friday, a slightly earlier finish time than initially proposed which takes into
account representations from the entertainment and leisure industry.
Those exempt from charges include emergency vehicles, motorbikes and mopeds, buses and coaches.
Residents living within the charging zone will receive a 90 per cent discount and there will be 100 per cent discounts for disabled Blue Badge holders, black cabs, licensed minicabs, firefighters travelling between stations for operational reasons and NHS staff who have to use their cars to carry out their duties (eg to carry controlled drugs or confidential patient records).
Alternative fuel vehicles and breakdown and recovery vehicles will be eligible for a 100 per cent discount on payment of an annual£10 registration fee.
The scheme Order signed today also includes further modifications allowing for exemptions for certain NHS 'on call' staff and for patients
undergoing treatment for chronic illnesses at hospitals in the charging zone.
Mr Livingstone added: 'I thank all those, including members of the public, who took the trouble to respond to the various rounds of consultation. I have been greatly helped by the representations made and I believe the confirmed, modified Order is a better one as a result of the changes that have resulted from consultation.'
1. TfL predict that the scheme will reduce traffic in central London by 10-15 per cent, and delays by 20-30 per cent. The scheme is also expected to raise£130m-£150m per year (not including£30m per year expected from penalty charges) which by law must be used to improve transport in London.
2. Some 2,500 individuals and organisations have responded during two rounds of public consultation (July to October 2001 and December 2001 to January 2002).