Congestion charging remains a political minefield. As the consultation on the Western Extension of London's congestion charging scheme comes to an end - and Greater Manchester heads towards a referendum of its own - it is time to revisit the big economic questions behind congestion charging.
This note sets out the economic benefits and costs around congestion charging – and shows that these are finely balanced, and will vary from city to city. It revisits the question of whether congestion charging schemes are fair, highlighting groups less likely to benefit from a scheme than others, such as small and medium sized enterprises and people living in areas with low access to public transport. The note also argues that congestion charging is primarily an economic instrument rather than an environmental one.