The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told a global summit that the “silent majority” of Londoners support his plan to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole of the capital. 

Support was also signalled from billionaire philanthropist and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg at the inaugural Partnership for Healthy Cities Summit, hosted on March 15 at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. 

The event celebrated the recent achievements of five global cities in preventing noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries – and was focused on making cities healthier places to live. 

A small group of protesters outside held placards in opposition to the ULEZ expansion. A number of them cited conspiracy theories about 15-minute cities and the World Economic Forum. 

Romford Recorder: Protesters outside the summit, led by Piers CorbynProtesters outside the summit, led by Piers Corbyn (Image: LDRS)

Inside the event, Mr Khan told the audience: “The ULEZ requires vehicles driving on our streets to meet the toughest emissions standards enforced by any major city in the world. 

“Its impact has been nothing short of transformative. Four million people now breathe cleaner air and toxic nitrogen dioxide levels have been cut by nearly half in central London. We’re now expanding ULEZ city-wide, bringing cleaner air to every Londoner.” 

He later said that within two years of implementing the ULEZ, toxic air was reduced by almost 50 per cent, and then another 21pc when extended to cover the area within the north and south circular roads. 

“I stood for re-election. I received more votes than any sitting mayor in [the] history of [UK] elections, so the silent majority are with me in relation to the ULEZ.”  

Mr Khan was asked after the event about the fact that the expansion of the ULEZ to cover greater London was not included in his 2021 election manifesto. The mayor insisted that the public were still on his side.  

He said: “At every stage of this process, there’ve been some people who have got concerns, legitimate concerns, which we’ve sought to address. So, the scrappage scheme we’ve announced for this expansion is £110million. We should be supporting those who’ve got genuine concerns.” 

He added: “Londoners are in favour of this expansion. The only impartial poll there's been, from YouGov, showed that almost double the number of Londoners support expansion as those who are against it.” 

City Hall Conservatives, who oppose Mr Khan’s plan, have pointed to the results of TfL’s own consultation on the proposal – saying that the leaked official results showed two thirds of respondents were opposed to it.