Havering Greens have accused opponents of the ULEZ expansion of gambling with people's health.

The Ultra-Low Emission Zone introduced by Mayor of London Sadiq Khan in 2019 imposed fees on the most polluting vehicles.

He announced last November that the ULEZ would be extended to incorporate the whole of the capital from August 29 this year, with any non-compliant vehicle liable for a daily £12.50 fee. 

On Monday (May 21) David Taylor, Conservative councillor for St Edwards in Romford, said the ULEZ scheme would cost Havering Council £240,000 a year in fines for council vehicles, such as street sweeping machines.

But the Greens say the Government should step in to help people switch from heavily polluting diesel cars to cleaner vehicles.

David Hughes, media officer for the Havering Green Party, said opponents were gambling with people's health.

He said: “It's a shame a vociferous minority want to oppose the cleaning up of our air and improving our lives, health and well-being.

“The opposition to ULEZ is much like the opposition to the smoking ban,” he said. “A few vested interests and some trying to make political capital from the misinformation.”

This comes as Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, joined council leader Ray Morgon and Keith Prince, Assembly Member for Havering and Redbridge, in calling for the ULEZ expansion to be scrapped.

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In a joint letter to Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, Mr Rosindell, Cllr Morgon and Cllr Prince said: “The cost of upgrading older vehicles to meet the ULEZ standards is prohibitively high for many, and the lack of alternative transportation options means that many residents will be forced to pay the daily charge, leading to increased costs and financial pressure.”

Cllr Taylor added: "I'm not opposed to efforts to clean up our air. It's vital that we do. If we're serious about improving air quality, ULEZ isn't the way to do this."

Mr Hughes said the Conservatives should devote their efforts instead to lobbying central government for extra money to help people upgrade their vehicles and avoid fines.

London is the 18th most polluted city in world and there is a clear mandate for the ULEZ scheme, said Mr Hughes, which would help move the capital down the list.

“You don't need to be a health professional to know that it is not good for humans or other animals to breathe in that toxic concoction,” he said.

The death of Ella Kissi-Debrah, a 9-year-old Lewisham girl, in 2013 was the first in which air pollution was listed as a cause. 

Mr Hughes said particulate matter and noxious chemicals from diesel engines shortened the lives of many in Havering and poisoning youngsters, who may then end up with chronic diseases.