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Last Updated: Monday, 14 January 2008, 20:27 GMT
Cut congestion zone, says Johnson
Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson said the western extension was not working
The western congestion charge zone would be scrapped if London mayoral hopeful Boris Johnson won the election, the Conservative candidate has said.

In an interview with BBC London he said the western extension - introduced in February 2007 - was not working.

Mr Johnson said he would also cut the congestion charge fine and give people five days to pay the fee.

He also unveiled proposals for police to use hand-held scanners to detect concealed weapons "from a distance".

The western congestion charge extension brought 8-a-day road toll scheme to most of Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea in west London.

'Not delivering cuts'

Mr Johnson said: "I don't think the western extension is working very well. I think it's delivering huge numbers of cars into the central zone, and I think we should get rid of it."

He said the congestion zone had seen a 15% rise in traffic numbers in the last year and was not "delivering the cuts in congestion it promised to do".

He said: "We need to have a fairer system, a system which makes use of better technology, and a system which doesn't penalise people who just nip in and out, while some people pay the same for going in eight or nine times a day."

I want to have hand-held scanners so people can tell at a distance if someone's carrying a knife or other offensive weapon
Boris Johnson

Mr Johnson promised he would bring in a less "punitive" system than the one currently in operation.

He said people would have longer to pay - up to five days after the day of travel - and that the maximum fee would be brought down to about 40, in line with congestion charges in countries like Sweden.

Crime issue

Mr Johnson also repeated plans to retire London's fleet of "bendy-buses", and pledged to open a tender for new designs to replace them.

He also said he would cap Tube and other transport fares in the city, although he did support the use of Oyster cards.

He called crime "the number one issue" for Londoners. He said he planned a live CCTV trial in buses so police could see if "violent affray is something they need to get to".

He said: "I want to have hand-held scanners so people can tell at a distance if someone's carrying a knife or other offensive weapon, and you don't have to go to the hassle of stopping and searching them."

Mr Johnson faces Lib Dem candidate Brian Paddick, the former Metropolitan Police Borough Commander for Lambeth, and the current incumbent Ken Livingstone.



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Boris Johnson campaigns to become London mayor


Boris Johnson interview



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