By Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter
Sadiq Khan has announced that he intends to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to cover the whole of Greater London, following a public consultation.
It means that from August 29 next year, drivers of older vehicles that do not meet strict emissions standards will have to pay the daily £12.50 charge to drive anywhere in London.
City Hall has said an estimated five million people will breathe cleaner air as a result of the expansion, despite widespread opposition to the plans.
About 60 per cent of respondents to TfL’s public consultation are thought to have opposed the expansion, though a YouGov poll commissioned by City Hall found that only 27 per cent of Londoners were opposed.
Sadiq Khan said expanding the ULEZ in the face of widespread opposition was “one of the toughest decisions I have made,” but stressed that the public consultation was “not a referendum”.
Mr Khan said: “Let me be frank, this decision was not made lightly. The easy thing to do would’ve been to kick the can down the road.
“But in the end, public health comes before political expediency, and I will not stand idly by while Londoners die, and our children are choked by poisonous fumes.”
In addition to announcing the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone, the mayor also announced he would introduce a new £110 million scrappage scheme to help lower income Londoners get older, non-compliant cars off the road and swap them for compliant vehicles.
Nick Rogers, transport spokesman for the GLA Conservatives, said that “now is not the time” to expand the zone and “hammer” more Londoners with the £12.50 levy.
He said: “The official report from TfL shows an overwhelming majority – about 60 per cent – of respondents are opposed to Sadiq Khan’s damaging plans to expand the ULEZ.
This increases to 68 per cent when you exclude organised campaigns, and a staggering 80 per cent of people who work in outer London are against.
“Now is not the time to hammer Londoners with a £12.50 daily cost-of-living charge.
“Residents have made their views very clear to the mayor: they do not want the ULEZ expansion.
“The mayor must listen to them, scrap these plans and use the £250 million saved on real measures that tackle air pollution.”
(Picture: David Hawgood)