Could ULEZ and congestion charge head to Reading

The ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) in London imposes a £12.50 daily charge on drivers depending on the pollutant levels of their cars.

While electric cars and most hybrids are exempt from paying, drivers of ‘non-compliant’ cars and vehicles must pay the charge.

If the charge is not paid, the driver could be hit with a hefty £180 fine.

A controversial decision has been made to expand the ULEZ to all London boroughs, prompting fears that such a zone could be introduced to Reading as well.

London also has a congestion charge, where drivers have to pay £15 in areas of the capital at peak times from 7am to 6pm on weekdays and 12pm to 6pm on weekends and bank holidays.

The questions over whether a ULEZ or congestion charge could be introduced to Reading were raised at a meeting of the council’s Older People’s Working Group.

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The group received a presentation on Reading Borough Council’s Transport Strategy up to the year 2040.

The strategy lays out the council administration’s desire for the town’s transport network.

Targets include reducing car trips to and through the town centre to 10 per cent from 25.4 per cent of mode share and have 66 per cent of residents walking or cycling for their journeys at least three times a week.

A statutory consultation is due to be launched this summer, with hopes to adopt the strategy later this year.

That prompted a member of the older people’s group to ask whether the council plans to introduce a ULEZ or congestion charge.

James Clements, transport programme manager replied that while there are no immediate plans to introduce either of these measures, the council administration has plans to consider a ULEZ or congestion charge in efforts to manage the demands on the town’s road network.

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A fellow member of the group called congestion charging “a scam” as those who can afford it can pay and will still be polluting the air.

Replying to the woman, Mr Clements reiterated the council’s position that the council has no current plans to introduce the measures.

He said: “There are no definitive plans, only plans to review. We don’t have a plan that we’re about to bring forward.”

Mr Clements answered the questions at a meeting of the Older People’s Working Group on Friday, July 7.

The Reading Transport Strategy 2040 was presented to members of the council’s strategic environment, planning and transport committee in June.

Reading Chronicle | Town Centre