Number of cars in central London surged 60% after Sadiq Khan stopped enforcing congestion charge in evenings

The number of cars driven in central London increased by almost 60 per cent after Sadiq Khan stopped enforcing the congestion charge at night, it can be revealed.

Transport for London’s own data shows the dramatic impact of the Mayor’s decision to shorten the £15-a-day C-charge’s operating hours, ending it at 6pm rather than 10pm.

The shorter hours were estimated to deprive TfL of £60 million to £70 million a year in income and sparked concerns that traffic would flood back into the West End in the evening.

Analysis of TfL’s annual travel in London report by the Clean Cities Campaign revealed that more cars are driving into the zone on weekday evenings than during the morning rush hour.

Last February, an average of 12,968 vehicles entered the zone between 6pm-10pm. But by October this had increased to 20,654 — a rise of 59 per cent.

Over the same period, there was a 12 per cent increase in traffic during the 7am-6pm charging hours — suggesting that the £15 levy is having less of a deterrent effect.

Oliver Lord, head of the Clean Cities Campaign, said: “We were baffled when the Mayor decided to end the congestion charge on weeknights because it flew straight in the face of his clean air and climate targets.

“Removing the congestion charge on weeknights has led to a car-led recovery that will worsen our health and do nothing for the economy.”

Andy Beverley, a member of campaign group Westminster Healthy Streets, said: “There is so much evidence to show that the West End economy would thrive with fewer cars driving around.

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