Havering's council leader has hit back at opponents who accused the administration of avoiding debate and having "a purposefully soft approach" on the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion.

Ray Morgon, leader of Havering Council, yesterday (July 27) hit back at the Havering Conservatives after the group criticised the administration ahead of the August 29 ULEZ roll-out across the capital.

ULEZ will impose fines on non-compliant vehicles in London in a bid to improve air quality. A judge today (July 28) ruled the expansion lawful.

Havering Conservatives and some independent Harold Wood Residents' Association councillors on July 26 demanded Havering's mayor call an urgent meeting to discuss ULEZ.

Martin Goode, leader of East Havering Residents Group - of which the three Harold Wood councillors are part of -  claimed they have have been trying for some time to get the council leader to have an open debate at full council.

But Cllr Morgon said a meeting has already been scheduled for August 30.

"It is a lie to say I have in any way stopped it [a meeting]," he said. “In any council meeting the opposition can put down a motion to debate.”

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Dilip Patel, deputy leader of Havering Conservatives, believes the adminstration has "taken a purposefully soft approach, and that it may cost taxpayers dearly".

"The residents deserve a chance to know where everyone stands on the matter,” Cllr Patel added.

But Cllr Morgon hit back, saying: "What power does Havering Council have to stop ULEZ from going ahead?

"We don't want to waste council money on legal fees [by mounting an appeal]."

Cllr Morgon felt that Mr Khan should have waited until 2026 to impose the scheme and said air quality in Havering was generally good.

Ruth Kettle-Frisby of Clean the Air in Havering backed ULEZ charges, adding: "Long-term health impacts of air pollution are serious, and our children need us to act urgently," she said.

"There really is no time to waste."