I asked the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, what the Government can do to stop the Mayor of London’s expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 14 December.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has decided to ignore his own public consultation on the expansion on the £12.50 daily ULEZ charge. Around 70 per cent of outer-Londoners and 80 per cent of business-owners were against the expansion. It seems that the Mayor of London cannot accept democracy.
The Mayor of London is only giving drivers 9 months to prepare for the expansion. This means that, with sharply rising energy bills and inflation, households will have to put aside extra money to pay the daily charge or buy a modern ULEZ-compliant vehicle which is unaffordable for many people in Basildon and Thurrock. The ULEZ expansion is a raid on drivers’ wallets and a hammer blow to businesses when they need all the support they can get. The ULEZ expansion is anti-business.
As Gareth Bacon MP highlighted in his open letter to the Telegraph, to which I was a co-signatory, outer London is very different to inner London and should not be absorbed into the ULEZ zone. It does not have the same levels of pollution, it does not enjoy the same transport links, and it is inseparably linked to the Home Counties. Thousands of people, including in Basildon and Thurrock, move across Greater London’s boundary every day. Outer London does not need ULEZ and does not want ULEZ.
I asked the Prime Minister in the House of Commons: “As my Right Honourable Friend will know, the Mayor of London, despite objections, has decided to expand the ULEZ zone across all London Boroughs which will massively impact my constituents and those who share a border with London. Will he, therefore, urgently speak to the Transport Secretary and encourage him to use the powers at his disposal to reverse this disastrous decision?”
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, replied: “My Honourable Friend will know that transport in London is devolved to the Labour Mayor of London, but it is disappointing that the Mayor, backed by the Leader of the Opposition, is choosing not to listen to the public. The zone is being expanded against the overwhelming views of residents and businesses, and I’d urgently consider the Mayor, and the gentleman opposite, to be on the side of hardworking Londoners.”