Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we have all witnessed and experienced changes to everyday life. We are all supporting those critical workers keeping the UK running as smoothly as possible during a difficult time. As London is being affected greatly during this time, it has been decided that charging schemes will be out of action to help critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place.
Charging schemes will be out of action as of March 23, including the London Low Emission Zone for HGVS, lorries, vans buses and coaches.
The move comes after public transport services have been severely cut back in the capital, amid the coronavirus crisis.
Mayor Sadiq Khan asked for the measures “to help our critical workers get to work and for essential deliveries to take place”.
He hopes that “particularly those in the NHS are able to travel around London as easily as possible during the national emergency.”
Mr Khan added: “This is not an invitation to take to your cars. To save lives we need the roads clear for ambulances, doctors, nurses and other critical workers…
“London’s roads should now only be used for essential journeys.”
Transport for London (TfL) says suspending the schemes will also support supermarkets as they battle to maintain stock levels.
The outbreak has highlighted that London’s critical workforce is much more widespread than just the core emergency services.
Paul Cowperthwaite, TfL’s General Manager of Road User Charging said: “Emergency services workers are absolutely fundamental to our response, but supermarket workers, utilities engineers, refuse collectors, and many more, also need to be able to travel to keep the city functioning.
“This is why we have temporarily suspended road user charging in the capital."
The RAC supports the measures designed with critical workers in mind.
NHS staff will also benefit from free access to Santander Cycles until April 30, where all journeys completed within 30 minutes will be completely free of charge.
London’s charging schemes may not be the only ones affected by the pandemic, as Birmingham City Council indicated the outbreak may delay the launch of its Clean Air Zone.
A spokesperson said: “We aim to launch Birmingham’s Clean Air Zone, as previously stated, in summer 2020.
"However, we are conscious of the impact coronavirus may have on our plans and will continue to monitor the situation closely.”
This is a difficult time for everyone, but especially for our critical workers. Anything that can support them and in turn support the UK is a commendable choice.
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