London cycling Tsar Andrew Gilligan has said the public are likely to support congestion charge increases to deal with rising traffic levels, after outgoing mayor Boris Johnson mooted the idea.
In a paper published last week setting out his cycling legacy, Mr Johnson said that ‘getting people out of cars is in fact the only way to keep London moving’.
He suggested that the next mayor would have to do this ‘perhaps by raising the congestion charge, perhaps by making it smarter’.
London's mayor has backed his own cycling legacy
Both the Conservative candidate for mayor, Zac Goldsmith, and his Labour opponent, Sadiq Khan, said they did not intend to increase the charge.
But, writing in last night’s Evening Standard, Mr Gilligan backed his boss, stating: ‘Doing nothing would result in congestion and pollution worse than we’ve got now.
‘There’s the political space to do more on charging, more on cutting pollution, more on making streets more people-friendly.’
The cycling Tsar also defended the capital’s controversial cycle superhighways, acknowledging that building them ‘has been disruptive’ but claiming that they were not the main cause of the recent rise in congestion.
Mr Gilligan said: ‘The main causes of congestion are the 25% drop in the price of petrol, the 40,000 new Uber cabs, the dozens of new construction sites and thousands of construction trucks. Above all, the traffic is growing because the population is growing.’