Town mouse on Congestion Charge

We’ve had hot, airless days in the big cities recently. Or as The Independent put it graphically on Friday: ‘We’re choking to death while the Government dithers.’ But London’s environment is now the responsibility of the Mayor. Whatever you may have thought about Ken Livingstone in other respects, he took it seriously.

In 2003, parts of Westminster and the City of London were girdled by the congestion charge; last year, its reach was extended to Earl’s Court Road. Public transport was improved, and it’s now often the quickest way of getting around, paid for by handy Oyster card. I’m considerably more relaxed about the congestion charge now our house is inside the zone.

We were just one street outside the original area, and were always making incursions of about 100 yards en route to one of the boys’ schools. Now, we have a season ticket at a greatly reduced rate somewhat academic at the moment, as our car has been off the road since a coach drove into the side.

Boris Johnson has begun consulting about the western extension zone, which he dislikes. He’d be mad to scrap the Livingstone legacy, however. We have to do something about cars in cities, and London is leading the world.