End of the western congestion charge welcomed by commuters

Commuters in Kensal Rise say they are pleased the ‘unfair’ charge has been scrapped

The mayor’s decision to scrap the Western extension zone (WEZ) of the congestion charge has been welcomed by residents and commuters.

Christmas Eve was the final day drivers had to pay the controversial �8 daily charge, which was introduced by former London Mayor Ken Livingstone in 2007.

It was scrapped by his successor Boris Johnson following a public consultation.

Mr Sean O’ Reilly, who lives in Watford and works as a window cleaner in Brent, said: “I’m pleased they are getting rid of it.

“I travel to work in my van and every Tuesday I work in Westbourne Grove, and I had to pay the charge, and the money added up. It will be nice not to have to pay it.”

Mr Muhammed Gulbhar, who works at Pound Plus discount shop in Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, on the border of the congestion charging zone, said: “It is good they have got rid of it.

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“It was unfair on drivers to have to fork out that much. A lot of people depend on their cars to get around and make a living.”

Environmental campaigners have warned that polluting air emissions could rise if WEZ is scrapped as people ditch public transport and return to their cars.

But this claim was rebuffed by residents.

Michael Leroy, a hospital administrator living in Chevening Road, said: “It is about time they stopped it.

“I get the tube to work but I do drive and I have a lot of sympathy for people who have to pay the charge, particularly those who work within the congestion zone.

“It won’t prevent people from travelling on public transport because people take the most convenient form of travel – whatever this may be.”

The western extension zone ran from Harrow Road in the north and Scrubs Lane in the West, to the Embankment.