A new version of the controversial congestion charge could be on its way to Croydon.

The borough has reportedly been recognised by Transport for London as one of nine key' centres which might benefit from congestion charging.

A scheme in which electronic windscreen tags monitor vehicle movements and automatically deduct payment from the drivers' pre-paid accounts could include Croydon.

Transport for London plans to introduce the new scheme in London by 2009, when the current licence for the congestion charge expires.

And recent reports suggest it could be extended to areas outside the capital, including Croydon.

Harrow, Hounslow, Kingston, Sutton, Bromley, Ilford, Romford and Wood Green were also identified as possible locations for new charging programmes.

Another scheme being considered uses satellite tracking to charge drivers for every mile they travel. It could be applied nationwide but will not be ready until 2014.

The Croydon Guardian reported in March 2003 that the council was considering becoming a congestion charging "satellite zone" where motorists would be charged for entering the town centre at peak times.

But Croydon Councillor Gerry Ryan, chairman of the traffic management cabinet committee, said the council was not considering introducing a congestion charge.

Coun Ryan said: "It's not on the radar. It's physically very difficult to produce something in a backdrop where the car driver thinks they are being overcharged."

However, he acknowledged the congestion charge is working in central London and that it has benefited Croydon by putting drivers off making unnecessary journeys into the capital.

According to Coun Ryan, parking is a major issue of debate in Croydon and CCTV enforced parking fines and additional double yellow lines have been successful in getting people on to public transport.

Coun Ryan added: "I know people don't like to pay parking charges but having charges in line with constitutional policy makes people think it's quite easy to get on a bus and they start to think there are other ways of travelling through the borough.

"The expansion of trams is a priority as a way of getting people about reliably," added Coun Ryan who wants to see a tramline from Streatham to Purley. He also hinted that a tram link to Crystal Palace could be on the horizon.

"It's on the list. It will be the first extension to be funded when the money becomes available," he said.

Kevin Delaney, head of traffic and road safety at the RAC Foundation, said: "The congestion charge in central London works quite well a lot better than Transport for London and the mayor Ken Livingstone thought it would," he said.

However, Mr Delaney raised concerns about whether a similar charge could work in Croydon if like in central London those who live in the charging zone receive a 90 per cent discount.

He said: "Ninety per cent of cars in Croydon come from the borough, so if you're going to give the people who live in the borough a 90 per cent discount, introducing a congestion charge could have very little effect.

"If it's not going to reduce congestion then what is it if it's not a tax? In terms of shopping people may go to Bluewater in Kent, rather than into Croydon where you wouldn't have to pay the charge or pay to park. It will have an impact."

A Transport for London spokesman said: "It would have to be a borough scheme. If the borough wanted to introduce charging schemes then we would support them."

"Congestion in London is getting worse and you've got a growing population.

"It's not just a problem in central London but in greater London."