Today is the fifth anniversary of the London Congestion Charge.

According to Transport for London the level of traffic within the zone is down 21 per cent since the introduction of the charge and the level of congestion is down eight per cent.

In addition public transport use has boomed since 2003, with record numbers of more than one billion passengers a year are using the tube, a 45 per cent increase in the use of buses and 43 per cent increase in cycling within the zone.

Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: "The congestion charge and the biggest investment programme since the second world war has enabled London to become the first major city in the world to achieve a shift away from the private car to public transport.

"The charge is also reducing pollution and I am building on this by altering the charge to penalise the big vehicles which contribute most to climate change and exempting the cleanest cars.

"Nationally and internationally cities are following London's example and considering introducing a similar charge.

"The congestion charge has made London a world leader in doing something about traffic congestion and pollution rather than just talking about it.

"Before the charge was introduced around 334,000 vehicles entered the original charging zone each day.

Some 70,000 fewer vehicles now enter the same area on a daily basis and London's buses carried 1.9 billion passengers in 2006/07, an increase of 45 per cent from 1999/2000.

London's Transport Commissioner, Peter Hendy, said: "Without the Congestion Charge, London would have ground to a halt. It has also helped transform London's bus network into one of the best in the world.

"Congestion Charging paved the way for further groundbreaking initiatives in London's transport and environment programme. Earlier this month, the whole of Greater London was designated a clean air Low Emission Zone, the largest of its type anywhere in the world."

What do you think of the Congestion Charge? Has it improved traffifc or made the situation worse?

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