The expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) scrappage scheme to help people switch from polluting vehicles is not a game changer and has come too late, according to Havering's council leader and deputy.

Ray Morgon, Havering Council leader, today (August 7) said Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's announcement that all Londoners with non-compliant cars will be eligible for a £2,000 grant would not substantially help people in the borough.

The expansion of ULEZ will impose fines on non-compliant vehicles in London in a bid to improve air quality from August 29.

Romford Recorder: Council leader Ray MorgonCouncil leader Ray Morgon (Image: Havering Council)

Mr Khan said on Friday (August 4) that he is not prepared to delay the move, saying it will save lives by cleaning up toxic air.

He added: "I’m determined that no Londoner and no London business is left behind.

"We need to take people with us on the path to a sustainable future. We are ensuring that help is now available for everyone – and I urge Londoners to come and get it.”

But Cllr Morgon said the £2,000 grant would do little to help and said ULEZ should have been postponed until 2026.

"It is probably the worst time to bring this policy in," said Cllr Morgon. “The scrappage scheme is more generous than it was previously and more people will be eligible, but it's in my view not a game changer.

“The mayor should have postponed this policy until 2026, that gives people ample time to make the financial adjustments they need to make."

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Gillian Ford, deputy leader of the council, felt that the timing was poor and said Mr Khan had not listened to people in Havering.

"It's a little too late," she said. "I don't think he's listened to Havering - It doesn't remove the challenges some of our residents, businesses and workforce face."

Romford Recorder: London mayor Sadiq KhanLondon mayor Sadiq Khan (Image: GLA)

But Better Streets for Havering, a campaign group, welcomed the grant and said the mayor had announced exactly what ULEZ opponents had been calling for.

Cllr Morgon said he accepted that some people were behind the scheme, including someone with a lung disease who called in to say she could not wait for it to come to Havering and improve air quality.

But he believes it would not make a huge difference, especially given the proximity of the M25 to Havering.

"After August 20 you’ll still have non-compliant cars chugging up and down the motorway," he said.

"It will be interesting to see in a few months time how much difference it actually makes."