Residents in hundreds of postcodes caught under Sadiq Khan’s expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) face a journey of more than two miles to the nearest public transport, The Telegraph can reveal.
Analysis of almost 330,000 postcodes across Greater London highlights transport deserts where people are heavily reliant on their car, but are several miles away from a train, tram or bus stop.
The most remote of these is in the London Borough of Bromley. Grays Road in Westerham is four miles away from Knockholt railway station, a journey that is estimated to take an hour-and-a-half on foot. It is also more than 750m away from the nearest bus stop.
It is one of almost 1,000 postcodes across London which is more than two miles away from its nearest tram or Tube stop. This is the equivalent of walking from Buckingham Palace to Brixton, more than an hour’s walk according to Google Maps.
More than 9,000 postcodes are situated more than a mile away from a railway station, while 1,550 postcodes are more than 500m from a bus stop.
The Ulez is due to expand to all 32 London boroughs in August, with the boundaries stretching out to some parts of the capital’s green belt.
However, the expansion has been widely criticised, with complaints that many of these areas do not have the same level of transport links that inner London has.
The analysis by The Telegraph revealed the significant journeys people face to access public transport as an alternative to driving.
On average, residents living in the outer London boroughs are 27 times more likely to live 500m from their nearest local transport compared to the outer London boroughs and 100 times more likely to live a mile away from a train or Tube station.
In Havering and Hillingdon, postcodes are more than a kilometre from their nearest station on average.
In Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Hackney, this figure is less than 350m.
Nick Rogers, the City Hall Conservatives’ transport spokesman, said: “Sadiq Khan’s Ulez expansion will punish people in outer London who do not have access to viable public transport alternatives and cannot afford to buy a new car.
“The Mayor is refusing to deliver meaningful improvements to outer London public transport, and Labour blocked our fully-costed, cross-party plan to invest £100 million in more buses for the boroughs affected.”
The Mayor of London and his office have said that the aim of the Ulez expansion is to reduce the number of premature deaths from inhaling toxic air in the capital every year.
As part of the plans, he has also put in place a £110 million scrappage scheme for those on low incomes or on disability benefits, or sole traders and charities with vans and minibuses.
However, some have complained that outer London’s transport system is currently unable to provide an adequate alternative to the car.
There has been a wave of criticism to the Mayor’s plan, with four London boroughs and Surrey County Council launching legal action against the expansion.
At the time, Ian Edwards, the leader of Hillingdon Council, which has the biggest accessibility issues, said that improving transport links, on a par with those in areas within the existing Ulez boundary, would be the better way to reduce car use in his borough.
According to Transport for London, it expects that about 200,000 vehicles, 15 per cent of London’s total, do not comply with the emissions standards.
However, there are indications that this could be far higher in outer London, which could leave some isolated as they cannot afford to change their car and are too far from public transport.
In Hounslow, west London, the rate of non-compliant cars is 67 per cent, while the average resident is nearly 800m away on average from a Tube or tram station, and 141m from a bus stop.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “With around 4,000 people dying prematurely in London due to toxic air there is no time to waste, this is why the Mayor is taking decisive action to bring cleaner air to five million outer Londoners.
“Any net revenue generated by the ULEZ is reinvested back into London’s transport network. To maximise the benefits of expanding ULEZ and strengthen alternatives to car use we have announced major improvements to the bus network, with one million more kilometres being added to the network.
"This is alongside the Elizabeth line and the Barking Riverside extension to the London Overground - other examples of infrastructure investment bringing transformational benefits to public transport in outer London.”