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EDITIONS
 Monday, 20 January, 2003, 17:05 GMT
Bond star leads fight against charge
Samantha Bond
Samantha Bond says congestion charging is unjust
Londoners are being called on to provide financial support for a court battle to outlaw congestion charging which is set to be introduced next month.

Actress Samantha Bond, who played Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films, attended a rally organised by a law firm who want to raise 500,000 for a High Court battle to prove that the scheme breaches human rights.

Class Law revealed that one person at the meeting in London on Monday had already pledged 20,000 and that others had also promised financial support.

Congestion charging, which will see motorists pay a 5 fee to drive into central London, begins on 17 February.

Ken Livingstone should be worried... he was hoping that this would all go away

Stephen Alexander
Stephen Alexander, from Class Law, said the scheme breaches the Human Rights Act as the freedom to use highways is a human right.

This could only be interfered with if the due process of law is pursued and people involved are fully consulted, Mr Alexander claimed.

He added that this had not been the case with Mr Livingstone's plan and that people on low incomes would be worst hit by the charge.

Ms Bond said: "What has been heartening is the complete cross section of people interested in opposing this scheme.

'Old arguments'

"This is not a right-wing or a left-wing thing or about rich people or poor people. It's about everyone. We even had non-drivers at the meeting. They think the scheme is unjust."

Mr Alexander said he appreciated time was short for a legal challenge but he added: "Ken Livingstone should be worried. He was hoping that this would all go away.

"We have the guts for the fight but we can't do it on our own."

Mr Livingstone's office said Class Law was "simply reviving old arguments put before the High Court in July 2002".

He added: "The judge comprehensively rejected these, and in particular decided that the Mayor and Transport for London had consulted fully and properly on the charge.

"The Mayor's decision to confirm the congestion charge scheme order was made in February 2002, and the time limit for applying for judicial review therefore ran out in May 2002 - eight months ago."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Samantha Bond, actress
"There are hundreds and thousands of workers who are going to be hit by this charge"
  Derek Turner, Transport for London
"I do not think there is any chance of a legal challenge actually working"

Click here to go to BBC London Online

BBC London's guide to congestion charging
See also:

13 Jan 03 | England
13 Jan 03 | Education
06 Dec 02 | England
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