adiq Khan is facing a growing backlash over plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone to the whole of Greater London, with City Hall Conservatives saying the potential positive impact is “negligible”.
As the public consultation on the plans comes to an end on Friday, City Hall has released new figures showing five million people outside London would be breathing cleaner air if the ULEZ were extended to cover the whole of Greater London. Of that, 340,000 Londoners would be living in areas that meet World Health Organization targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) for the first time.
However, a TfL document released earlier this month found that the zone’s initial expansion to the north and south ring roads last October had a “limited” impact on pollution levels, calling into question the potential impact of further expansion.
Conservative Assembly member Shaun Bailey, who clashed with Sadiq Khan on several occasions in the 2021 mayoral election, said the ULEZ is “a story of a mayor seeking a legacy” and put the estimated £200m cost of further development of the zone in question .
Mr Bailey said: “Considering that positive environmental impacts are negligible at best, the staggering £200m prize could be much better spent on programs that actually improve the air in London.
“It is imperative that all road pricing is implemented in conjunction with the Government to ensure London is part of a national system that is revenue neutral. Londoners cannot be expected to shoulder the financial burden of Khan’s legacy and pay twice to implement a program that has not been properly thought through.”
The Mayor of London said it was “undeniable” that the initial expansion of the ULEZ last year was a success, with 67,000 fewer non-compliant vehicles on the roads and 21,000 fewer vehicles overall.
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 children developing crippled lungs, asthma and a whole host of other health problems, and new research has shown it also puts it at increased risk of developing dementia. We must act now to protect the most vulnerable from the worst effects of toxic air and build a safer, fairer, greener and more prosperous city for all.”
Londoners have until the end of Friday 29 July to respond to TfL’s public consultation on expansion plans for the ULEZ in Greater London.