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Last Updated: Saturday, 1 October 2005, 11:54 GMT 12:54 UK
Congestion charge protest planned
Map of zone including the extension

Plans to stage a protest against the expansion of the congestion charge are being drawn up by small businesses.

London mayor Ken Livingstone announced on Friday that the road toll will be extended westwards to include Kensington and Chelsea.

The Forum for Private Businesses said the charge was "killing" firms in the city and revealed that a protest will take place in the next two weeks.

The 8 weekday charge for crossing the new boundary begins in February 2007.

Ben Pinnington, spokesman for the Forum for Private Businesses, said they were organising the protest to try to convey to Ken Livingstone the "gravity and seriousness of the situation".

'Wrong message'

He said that as a result of the charge, which was introduced for central London in February 2003, half of businesses had seen a drop in profits.

He also said two-thirds of companies have seen a fall in the number of shoppers and one-third had considered relocating out of London.

Mr Pinnington said that since the July bombings there have been fewer people coming to London and that this news "sends out the wrong message".

"The congestion charge needs to be suspended to encourage people back into London because businesses are dying."

When the Chelsea and Kensington extension comes into effect, charging hours will end 30 minutes earlier at 1800.

A Transport for London survey showed 63% of residents and 72% of firms were opposed to the western extension.

Charge zone times could shorten
09 May 05 |  London

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