Opinion: Emission zone extension will hit poorest

PUBLISHED: 08:00 16 December 2018

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.

Havering's London Assembly Member Keith Prince.


Readers may not have heard of Sadiq Khan’s planned expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), but it is set to have a detrimental impact on the hundreds of thousands of people who drive inside the North and South Circulars every day.

This, of course, includes many Romford and Havering residents.

ULEZ will mean that from 2021 drivers of nearly all diesel cars and vans licensed before September 2015, petrol cars and vans licenced before 2006 and motorbikes or mopeds licensed before September 2007 will have to pay a charge of £12.50 to travel inside the North and South Circulars.

This comes on top of higher charges for entering the congestion charge zone taking effect from next year.

The number of people affected by this change are set to be huge; TfL’s own figures show that well over half a million of cars registered in London alone will be charged if driven.

There is an inherent unfairness to ULEZ, with the poorest being hit disproportionately.

The well-off are more likely to own newer vehicles and therefore could avoid the ULEZ charge. Even if their car did not meet the ULEZ criteria, a wealthy person could easily buy a new car which did.

Yet for the poorest Londoners, this simply may not be an option.

Think too of the army of people in low paid jobs who have no choice but to use their cars or motorbikes to get into London because they work night shifts. ULEZ will have a huge impact on their lives.

Over the weekend, my Conservative colleague on the London Assembly, Gareth Bacon, said that ULEZ could be Sadiq Khan’s poll tax moment, and he’s right.

I will continue to fight this regressive scheme.

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