Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Monday, 14 April 2008 11:31 UK

Roads must be 'mayoral priority'

Congestion charge zone
Road users are not getting value for money, says the AA

A motoring organisation has said reducing congestion should be a priority for London mayoral candidates.

The Automobile Association (AA) said speeds have been reduced and congestion has increased, despite the initial success of the congestion charge.

The AA said that despite paying more to drive into the city, motorists were getting a worse service.

It urged mayoral hopefuls to come up with practical solutions to tackle bottlenecks in the city.

'Real inconvenience'

"When we look at it, there are fewer cars in central London but less road space," said the AA's president Edmund King.

"We've had more road narrowings, more chicanes, more bus lanes, wider pavements, more pedestrianisation, more phasing of traffic lights against the traffic.

As Mayor, I will rephase the traffic lights, fine utility companies who take too long to dig up our roads and take a more flexible approach to the congestion charge
Boris Johnson, Tory mayoral candidate

"So it's quite ironic that people are paying more to come into London but aren't getting such a good service."

But Ken Livingstone, mayor of London, said the bottlenecks were down to essential engineering works in the city.

"The reason it's currently a nightmare is because, after a hundred years, Thames Water - and they're right to do this - is replacing all the water mains," he said.

Immediate review

"They're starting in the heart of the city and will gradually work their way around and this is work that's got to be done...but it does mean a couple of years of real inconvenience as each road is dug up and those new mains are put in."

Tory mayoral candidate Boris Johnson said he would reverse some of Mr Livingstone's current road policies.

He said: "As mayor, I will rephase the traffic lights, fine utility companies who take too long to dig up our roads and take a more flexible approach to the congestion charge."

Brian Paddick, Liberal Democrat candidate, said he would retain the congestion charge introduced by Mr Livingstone in 2003.

However, if elected, he would "scrap" the westward extension of the charge and carry out an immediate review of the number of traffic lights in London.

"I am committed to getting London moving again as stationary or slow-moving traffic is the major cause of harmful emissions pollution," he said.


SEE ALSO
Berry's green agenda for London
10 Apr 08 |  UK Politics
Livingstone opens re-election bid
18 Mar 08 |  UK Politics

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