Richmond council chiefs to call for delay in extending ULEZ charge to borough and beyond

By The Editor

23rd Jan 2023 | Local News

Richmond council chiefs are calling on the London mayor to delay implementation of the expansion of the controversial ULEZ scheme.

The move comes against the background of the cost of living crisis and fears residents with older cars will struggle to afford the daily charge of £12.50.

The London mayor, Sadiq Khan, insists the measure is vital to cut 'toxic air' emissions and so, potentially, save thousands of lives a year.

Richmond's Lib-Dems and, historically, some borough Conservatives have supported the expansion of ULEZ to cover greater London. However, both parties are now raising objections.

The mayor and Transport for London (TfL) have announced that the ULEZ scheme will be expanded to cover all of the capital from August.

TfL estimates that every day about 160,000 cars and 42,000 vans using London's roads would be liable for the £12.50 fee.

It would only apply to older polluting vehicles, which is about 15% of those currently on the roads, and there are concerns it will particularly hit the vans of small traders.

The mayor has announced a £110m scrappage scheme to help the owners of these older vehicles to switch to a greener, less polluting alternative.

Richmond Council is the latest Lib-Dem controlled authority to question extending the ULEZ. Sutton council, for example, has indicated it will not co-operate in allowing the cameras used to enforce the regime to be installed on its roads.

Richmond's Lib-Dems are arguing the scheme should only go ahead if the scrappage scheme is improved and more money is promised for public transport to give residents a viable alternative to their cars.

The chairman of Richmond's Transport, Streetscene and Air Quality, Cllr Ehmann, has put a motion to the full Council meeting to be held tomorrow – Tuesday.

In it, he says: "Council reaffirms its commitment to clean air, and Richmond Borough's cross-party consensus that ULEZ should cover the entirety of the borough."

However, it then raises a series of caveats, stating the: "Council regrets that the Mayor of London has failed to act on this administration's demands of the scheme and calls for the Mayor of London to:

• Consider a short delay to the implementation of the scheme in light of the cost-of-living crisis

• Widen the scope of the scrappage scheme with additional funding

• Improve public transport in those areas of the borough with the lowest Public Transport Accessibility Levels (PTAL) ratings

• Ensure that money raised within the borough is reinvested in local transport improvements."

The Council will vote on the motion on Tuesday.

A mayoral spokesperson for Mr Khan, who in his role is also chair of TfL, said: "Toxic air is a matter of life and death.

"About 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to the toxic air in our city and the mayor makes no apology for making the tough decision to expand the ultra-low emission zone.

"85% of vehicles in outer London are already ULEZ compliant and, for those that aren't, the mayor has announced the biggest scrappage scheme yet - £110m - to help the Londoners who need it most amid the cost-of-living crisis, including low-income and disabled Londoners."

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