ULEZ expansion is 'unfair' as Tory MPs call for it to be scrapped

Tory MPs including Watford's Dean Russell and South West Herts' Gagan Mohindra have signed a letter calling for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to cancel the ULEZ expansion <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Tory MPs including Watford's Dean Russell and South West Herts' Gagan Mohindra have signed a letter calling for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan to cancel the ULEZ expansion (Image: PA)

Nearly 30 Conservative MPs have written to the Mayor of London urging him to cancel the “regressive and unfair” ULEZ expansion.

The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will expand to cover the whole of Greater London from the end of August 2023 in an effort to boost air quality.

Drivers of vehicles that fail to meet minimum emission standards will have to pay a daily charge of £12.50 to travel within the zone.

Read more: What you need to know about ULEZ and the roads you'll have to pay to cross from Herts into London

The decision to expand the ULEZ was made following a public consultation which ran between May and July 2022. A total of 59% of respondents agreed more needed to be done to tackle toxic air but a Telegraph investigation showed 66% of respondents were opposed to the expansion.

Watford Observer: The Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding to cover the whole of London from August 29 2023
Watford Observer: The Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding to cover the whole of London from August 29 2023

The Ultra Low Emission Zone is expanding to cover the whole of London from August 29 2023 (Image: PA)

In their letter to Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, 29 Tory MPs, which include Watford’s Dean Russell and South West Hertfordshire’s Gagan Mohindra, said the mayor’s decision is “undemocratic” and also raised financial concerns, calling it a “hammer blow to household budgets”.

It read: “With sharply rising energy bills and inflation, few can afford the charge, let alone buy a compliant vehicle.”, adding: “This is a smash-and-grab raid on drivers’ wallets that has nothing to do with air quality and everything to do with Mr Khan’s mismanagement of TfL finances.”

Read more: Herts drivers consider debt and quitting jobs as ULEZ expands

Watford Observer: The letter from Conservative MPs to the Mayor of London
Watford Observer: The letter from Conservative MPs to the Mayor of London

The letter from Conservative MPs to the Mayor of London (Image: Gagan Mohindra MP Facebook)

Mr Mohindra said he was ”greatly concerned” in particular for constituents, such as key workers, in South Oxhey, Rickmansworth and Northwood due to the areas’ proximity to London.

Calling for more electric buses, public transport, and electric charging points, the MPs concluded: “We urge the mayor to cancel his ULEZ expansion. It is regressive, unfair, and a waste of money.”

Responding to the letter, a spokesperson for the mayor said: “The letter is very misleading. The truth is around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to the toxic air in our city with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in London’s outer boroughs, which the ULEZ doesn’t currently cover.

"Children across London are growing up with stunted lungs while adults have greater risk of heart disease, dementia and other serious illnesses.

“The Mayor has been clear that it was not an easy decision to expand the ULEZ London-wide but a necessary one to reduce the capital’s toxic air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in our city.

"He’s announced the biggest scrappage scheme yet - £110m - to help the Londoners who need it most, including low income and disabled Londoners, on top of the £61million he provided for previous scrappage schemes. Most Londoners – more than four in five - will not need to pay the ULEZ – so people should check if their vehicle is compliant by using TfL’s vehicle checker.

“Every penny raised by the expansion will be reinvested back into delivering public transport, including the biggest ever expansion of bus routes in outer London. Expanding the ULEZ London-wide will strike the best balance between maximising the health and environmental benefits for Londoners while minimising the cost to drivers."

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