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Congestion Charge, Science in the News

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Introduction

Year 10 Science in the News: Congestion Charges The question I am trying to answer is 'Are Congestion Zones a Good Idea?'. Congestion Zones were first introduced in the UK in London in the Central District in 2003. The idea of the Congestion Zone was to charge a fixed rate to travel around within this zone during a certain time frame, in London's case between 7.00am and 6.30pm. The Congestion Zone was set up in order to try and lower the amount of harmful pollutants in the air around the city centre, because (before the Zone was implemented) there would be a large volume of traffic passing through the area at a slow speed which meant cars were producing more pollution, but with the Zone cars could travel faster as there were fewer cars as they would want to try and avoid the charge and would mean less pollution was being produced. The Congestion Zone directly affects pollution levels, the public and businesses, the flow of vehicles and the type of vehicles traveling in the area. ...read more.

Middle

Airquality.co.uk say that the cars have decreased from 390000 to 240000 per year passing through the zone, which is a 39% reduction. I think the most reliable source is the report from Airquality.co.uk, because it is not bias towards one side of the argument (as the report from the ABD is, towards the drivers in and around the zone) and gives balanced views throughout its report on the subject. I have plotted a bar graph (see next page), from data given in the Stimulus Material, which show the levels of Nitrogen Oxides by a roadside in the Congestion Zone. The graph shows an obvious trend; the results before the implementation of the scheme are almost exclusively higher than after the scheme had been introduced, which suggests there was less pollution which leads to the conclusion that less traffic was flowing through the area, which backs up what both of my researched sources say too, increasing reliability of all three sets of data. However, in the data on my graph there were two anomalies, on both Saturday and Sunday the amount of Nitrogen Oxides increased after the scheme was introduced. ...read more.

Conclusion

The environment could be affected because levels of pollution in the congestion zone will decrease, but the traffic that now avoid that area have to travel elsewhere increasing traffic and congestion in another area; they may have solved the problem in one area, but they have just transferred the problem to other areas increasing pollution levels there as cars are traveling more slowly. I think that congestion zones are a good idea. I have made this decision based on the information provided by three, reliable different sources stating that vehicle flow of cars has decreased which was one of the main aims of the Congestion Zone to begin with and also from information that pollution has been dramatically reduced as shown by data from the line graph. I think the most important piece of information is the report provided by airquality.co.uk, because it gives a broad perspective on all the issues and gives data which is shows the success of the scheme, in particular the table showing average traffic flows within the charging zone before and after implementation. ...read more.

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