The government has indicated it will not be intervening on the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) extension, after being called upon to take action in a recent petition and letter sent to the prime minister. 

Havering Residents’ Association (HRA), which forms the borough's administration in coalition with Labour, has garnered more than 700 signatures on its petition requesting the government step in and veto the ULEZ extension. 

In it, the umbrella group claims the £12.50-a-day scheme for non-compliant vehicles, due to be implemented on August 29, poses a threat to workers, families, elderly, the sick and disabled. 

“They will likely seek alternative employment outside of the zone, jeopardising the care sector and no doubt many other sectors,” it adds. 

“Many will find the cost or replacement out of reach. The scrappage scheme is far too low, with a very restrictive criteria for eligibility, it is also only limited to those within the zone.” 

Romford Recorder: The ULEZ extension is planned for August 29 this year, bringing the whole of outer London under the schemeThe ULEZ extension is planned for August 29 this year, bringing the whole of outer London under the scheme (Image: PA/Transport for London)

Instead, the group wants to see the government veto the extension by “enacting Section 143 of the GLA Act (1999) because the mayor's transport strategy/policy is indeed 'detrimental to any area that is outside Greater London'”. 

The same plea is made in a letter sent directly to the prime minister, Rishi Sunak. 

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A Department for Transport spokesperson however said that all decisions on road user charging “are a matter for the Mayor of London”. 

The spokesperson added: “It is for the mayor to justify the decision to residents and businesses and properly consult to ensure those who can least afford to make the switch are supported through any future measures.” 

The HRA’s call for government intervention differs from Havering Council’s official line.

While it refused to sign the section eight agreement, which grants permission to erect CCTV cameras and road signs on borough roads, the council decided not to join a multi-borough legal challenge, and is instead asking the mayor to delay the expansion and introduce an enhanced scrappage scheme

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When asked why the petition and letter were distributed under the HRA name and not the council, Cllr Gillian Ford, deputy leader of Havering Council, said: “This is a political decision. The council cannot play politics.” 

Cllr Keith Darvill, the Labour leader, clarified the group's position had not changed, and that it intends to continue lobbying for a better scrappage scheme including an extension to those who drive into the capital for work. 

A spokesperson for London mayor Sadiq Khan has previously told this paper that around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely every year due to toxic air, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in its outer boroughs.

They also referenced the mayor’s £110million scrappage scheme, adding: “Any money received from the scheme will be reinvested into running and improving London’s transport network, such as expanding bus routes in outer London.”  

Changes to three bus routes in Havering have recently been announced in the wake of the ULEZ expansion plans.

View the HRA petition online here: