Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion is ‘wrong solution at the wrong time’

Radio caller savages Sadiq Khan over ULEZ expansion

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The ULEZ area will be expanded to include all of the capital on Tuesday, August 29, 2023, with all 32 boroughs and the City of London affected. However, a new survey has found that 82 percent of motorists disagree with London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s lofty goals.

Not only that, but eight in 10 felt that health benefits had been exaggerated by City Hall to help generate support for the scheme 

A further 86 percent felt Khan has been wrong to go ahead with the expansion given his own public consultation found the majority of Londoners don’t want it to happen.

Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 78 percent said they were concerned about our planet from an environmental perspective.

This high emissions rate in London has prompted Sadiq Khan to take the dramatic step to expand the zone, with the ULEZ already reducing roadside pollution levels by 44 percent in central London and 20 percent in inner London.

Expanding ULEZ London-wide will save 27,000 tonnes of CO2 in outer London, nearly double that which the central London ULEZ achieved in its first year of operation. 

The expansion is forecast to make further progress to reduce air pollution, by reducing nitrogen oxide emissions from cars and vans in outer London by 10 and seven percent respectively.

It will also reduce PM2.5 car exhaust emissions in outer London by nearly 16 percent.

However, 77 percent felt the expansion wasn’t the right way to generate improvements, especially in a sustainable way.

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Alternative measures may include removing empty bus lanes, removing random traffic lights that stop flows of traffic unnecessarily, creating raised cycle paths, using sustainable fuels in public transport and reducing the cost of public transport. 

Chris Green, the founder and director of Regit, said: “Our motorists are clearly environmentally conscious but the majority feel the expansion of ULEZ is the wrong solution at the wrong time. 

“Implementing significant changes like ULEZ and the ban on the sale of vehicles powered only by petrol or diesel ultimately costs money and it’s the poorest who are always hit hardest. 

“The price of electric cars has come down but there are still huge barriers to sale that will prevent even people on a decent wage from making the transition.

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“Despite there being a heavy south-east bias in terms of the distribution of EV infrastructure, there has still been no consideration for those without the luxury of off-street parking.

“Electric cars with a mid to long range remain out of budget for huge numbers who would like to make the switch – despite the £2,000 scrappage scheme.

“If Sadiq Khan really wanted to improve air quality we would be hearing about how he is addressing these challenges directly and why he is also only targeting private motorists given commercial vehicles are some of London’s biggest polluters.”

Almost 90 percent of people also criticised the timing of the expansion, highlighting the impact of the cost of living crisis on motorists.

Vehicles must meet strict emission standards to drive in the ULEZ including Euro 4 petrol and Euro 6 for diesel, with any non-compliant vehicle facing the £12.50 daily fee.

Transport for London is also increasing the PCN level for the ULEZ to £180 (reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days) to maintain the deterrent effect of the scheme and achieve the scheme’s air quality and health objectives.   

It is estimated that 94 percent of all vehicles in London are already ULEZ-compliant. In comparison, when it was announced in 2017, only 39 percent of vehicles would have been compliant.

The research also found that 82 percent believe Sadiq Khan is doing a bad job as Mayor of London.

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