Since the update I posted on my website last year, a large number of residents have continued to contact me to raise their understandable concerns regarding Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to include the entirety of London. I have made no secret of my view that the proposals are neither proportionate nor justified, a case I continue to make at every available opportunity, including last month during Prime Minister’s Questions:
Indeed, over the last nine months I have repeatedly made clear my opposition in a large number of articles and interviews. I and twenty-eight of my colleagues also signed this public letter in The Telegraph in December:
I wrote to the Mayor setting out my own concerns during the consultation period last June. I have attached a copy at the bottom of this page, and hope it makes clear my position.
Looking at the local picture, Bromley has consistently come out against the expansion and will continue to oppose it. In fact, Bromley Council, with four other councils, announced in February that it is challenging the Mayor’s decision in court, a step I fully support.
The High Court ruled yesterday that there is sufficient evidence that Sadiq Khan's ULEZ decision may indeed be unlawful and it's likely that the case will now be heard in July.
Without a doubt, a further expansion to the ULEZ will considerably impact residents and businesses in outer London boroughs like Bromley, where car ownership is far higher and, lacking the TfL provision of inner London boroughs, it will remain a necessity for the vast majority of residents. The associated consultation highlighted significant opposition, while TfL’s own independent assessments concluded that an expansion would have a negligible impact on air quality and disproportionately affect low-income and disabled Londoners.
The Mayor’s decision to proceed, regardless of the overwhelming negative feedback received, is extremely worrying. As I wrote in my letter to the Mayor, such a broad-brush approach is blind to the reality of life in outer London boroughs and demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of the concerns of its residents. I believe that we need to do far more to tackle air pollution, but there are fairer, more targeted, and evidence-based means of doing that. A blanket, one-size-fits-all approach, which seeks to apply the same logic of what works in the Square Mile to a farm in Downe, is devoid of any evidential basis.
The impact on those outside of the capital must also, of course, be carefully considered. Journeys to and from the home counties are made daily – for school, work, and to visit friends and loved ones. An argument could be made that by pursuing this expansion, Mr Khan is exceeding the powers conferred to him via the Greater London Authority Act 1999. As my colleague, and the Minister for London, Paul Scully, recently pointed out, the plan affects “a whole load of people in Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire who didn’t get a say on it; it is taxation without representation.”
Ultimately, this is a devolved matter and it is not something MPs have a vote on or any power to formally reject. I will, however, continue to work with colleagues, locally and nationally, to oppose the expansion. I have met with the Roads Minister, Richard Holden, and I can assure you, we are exploring every avenue open to us to put pressure on the Mayor and urge him to reconsider – something Labour-run councils, like Barking and Dagenham, as well as the trade union Unite, are now doing too.
To help us continue make this case, please consider signing the petition we have set up here: