Adiq Khan is facing a growing backlash against plans to expand the Ultra Low Emissions Zone to cover the whole of Greater London, with City Hall Tories describing the potential positive impact as ‘negligible’.
As public consultation on the plans ends on Friday, City Hall released new figures showing that five million people in the outskirts of London would breathe cleaner air thanks to the expansion of the ULEZ to cover the whole of the Greater London. Of these, 340,000 Londoners are said to be living in areas that meet World Health Organization targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels for the first time.
But a TfL document published earlier this month revealed that the area’s initial expansion to the North and South Circular Routes last October had had a ‘limited’ impact on pollution levels, calling into question the impact potential for further expansion.
Conservative Assemblyman Shaun Bailey, who faced Sadiq Khan several times in the 2021 mayoral election, said ULEZ was “the story of a mayor looking for a legacy and questioned the estimated cost of £200million to expand the area further. .
Mr Bailey said: “Given that any positive environmental impact will be negligible at best, the eye-watering price tag of £200m could be much better spent on projects that will actually make London look better.
“It is imperative that any road pricing work is done in conjunction with the government, to ensure that London is part of a national system that is revenue neutral. Londoners cannot be expected to bear the financial burden of Khan’s legacy and pay twice to implement a program that has not been properly considered.
The Mayor of London said it was ‘unquestionable’ that the initial expansion of ULEZ last year was a success, with 67,000 fewer non-compliant vehicles on the roads and 21,000 fewer vehicles in total .
Mr Khan said it was important to take ‘bold action’ to improve air quality for everyone, not just those living in central London.
Mr Khan said: ‘Deadly air pollution contributes to the development of stunted lungs, asthma and a whole range of other health problems in children and new research has shown that it also exposes people to an increased risk of developing dementia. We must act now to protect the most vulnerable from the worst consequences of toxic air and build a safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all.
Londoners have until the end of Friday July 29 to respond to TfL’s public consultation on plans to expand ULEZ in Greater London.