The list of boroughs formally opposing the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is growing as Havering Council has confirmed it has not signed a legal agreement. 

The local authority joins a number of other outer London councils which have refused to cooperate with the Mayor of London’s decision to extend the ULEZ to cover all of London on August 29.

While some have called for delays, others have strictly opposed the scheme, with Conservative-led boroughs Harrow, Bromley, Bexley and Hillingdon threatening legal action.

Within Havering itself, while there has been some support, others have publicly demanded that the ULEZ either be delayed or binned, with some residents attending a recent protest in Trafalgar Square

Now, Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of the council, has confirmed the administration has refused to sign the section eight agreement with Transport for London (TfL), which grants permission to erect CCTV cameras and road signs on borough roads. 

Cllr Morgon said: "As a cabinet, we have debated this issue at great length. We have tried to look at the issue objectively rather than purely from an ideological stance. We understand that air quality needs to improve and public health will ultimately benefit therefrom. 

"However, we feel its introduction should be delayed facilitating better mitigation for residents including an enhanced scrappage scheme.” 

Romford Recorder: Cllr Ray Morgon, leader of Havering CouncilCllr Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council (Image: Havering Council)

Cllr Morgon conceded the mayor has powers to introduce and operate the zone without the agreement being signed, saying: "To date, we have not heard of any strong legal case to stop ULEZ being implemented, but remain open-minded to any arguments to the contrary. We will always act in the best overall interests of our residents.” 

With reservations regarding the potential impact on residents of the £12.50 daily charge for non-compliant vehicles, public transport options in the borough and the scope of the scrappage scheme, Cllr Morgon said: “Therefore, due to our concerns, we have not concluded a section eight agreement with TfL.” 

A spokesperson for London mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “We have no time for inaction when around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to toxic air, and thousands more develop life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.

Romford Recorder: The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced plans last year to extend the ULEZ to incorporate outer London on August 29 2023The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced plans last year to extend the ULEZ to incorporate outer London on August 29 2023 (Image: Greater London Authority)

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"It’s people in outer London, particularly the poorest households who suffer the most from the damaging health effects of toxic air. In Havering around 178 people die prematurely every year due to air pollution. 

“More than four in five vehicles in outer London are already ULEZ compliant. For those with the most polluting vehicles the mayor has launched his £110million vehicle scrappage scheme to help low-income Londoners, disabled Londoners and small businesses and charities to replace their polluting vehicles.” 

The spokesperson added that TfL continues to develop plans to improve the bus network in outer London, and will shortly be consulting on improvements to bus connections between Harold Hill and Upminster.