Road charges? Outcry as Conservatives push through plan
Residents reacted with surprise and anger when - shortly before Christmas - a single Conservative councillor approved plans which could lead to residents being charged to drive through Epping Forest.
The interim air pollution strategy includes a "Clean Air Zone" or CAZ covering forest roads from 2025. This enables the council to levy a charge on categories of vehicles driving through the forest, like the congestion charge in London.
The zone would cost £2.5 million to introduce. The amount of income it would generate is currently unknown."
A proposal this far-reaching deserves proper debate involving both councillors and residents," said Epping district and town councillor Jon Whitehouse. He joined with independent and Green Party councillors to call a special council meeting on8 February to debate the plan.
Theydon Bois parish councillor Clive Amos added: "If implemented this plan is likely to drive more traffic along Coppice Row, Abridge Road, Theydon Road and Piercing Hill as drivers seek to divert round the charged-for area."
Conservative councillors have justified the road charges by saying it is necessary to enable the building of thousands of new homes around the forest, including 950 to the south of Epping and 1,050 in North Weald.