Tony O'Kane | Dec 22, 2008

London’s mop-haired mayor Boris Johnson has announced that his office is considering dropping the contentious congestion charge system installed by his predecessor, Ken Livingstone.

The congestion charge applies to most of central London’s road network. Among other things (mostly unprintable) it has been labelled a blatant money-grab, ineffective at reducing congestion and – bizarrely – actually harmful to the environment. It’s no surprise then that many British motorists are keen to see the end of it.

But they’d better not get their hopes up just yet: Johnson has only said that he’ll “brood” on the topic for now, and that the congestion charge may have to remain in some form or another in order to control traffic flow.

“There is a problem with congestion in this city and people twisting their steering wheels into pretzels. Before we did anything I would have to be assured congestion would not be affected," he said.

LondonCongestionChargemap

After being elected to office earlier this year, Johnson, an avid car enthusiast and part-time motoring journalist, won favour from motorists by halting the spread of the congestion charge zone and regulating the price for entry.

It is still far too early to say whether he’ll be able to remove the congestion charge entirely, however it’s comforting to know that road-using Londoners have a useful ally in their local government.

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