ULEZ expansion in Havering slammed as 'punitive tax'

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY APRIL 8 A view of a information sign at Tower Hill in central London, for t

A view of an Ultra Low Emission Zone sign in Tower Hill - Credit: PA

The expansion of London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been slammed as a "punitive tax" at a recent meeting.  

A Havering Council meeting on July 13 saw a Conservative motion call for the local authority to oppose the proposal “by all means within its power”.  

It said the administration should make representations to Transport for London (TfL) and the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, against the ULEZ expansion to the borough. 

If introduced, drivers of non-compliant cars would be charged a daily fee of £12.50 for entering the ULEZ.  

At the meeting, Conservative councillor David Taylor said something needs to be done about the climate emergency, but “I and our residents don’t feel the ULEZ is that something”. 

Cllr Taylor said it will “disproportionally impact those on low incomes”.  

An amendment on behalf of Havering's Labour group read: “While Havering Council opposes the introduction of the ULEZ expansion, it recognises the impact of poor air quality on the lives of Havering residents.  

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“This council moves that the administration make representation to TfL and the mayor of London regarding measures that can be taken to offset the impact of vehicular pollution and reduce the number of unnecessary journeys made, without a regressive flat-rate tax which will impact our less well-off residents disproportionately.” 

Cllr Keith Darvill, leader of the local Labour group and cabinet member for climate agenda, called the Conservative motion “restricted”.  

He said: “We’re not saying the ULEZ in its present approach is good, it’s got lots of disadvantages."

One of these, Cllr Darvill said, includes the scrappage scheme not being sufficient.  

Meanwhile, Cllr John Tyler from Upminster and Cranham Residents' Association, said: “We all agree that we disagree with ULEZ, however, we seem to disagree the way that we agree that we disagree with it.”  

When the plan was announced, Mr Khan said: "I’m not willing to ask people to pay more unless I’m absolutely convinced it’s justified to save lives and protect the health of Londoners.

“I believe the proposal to extend the ULEZ London-wide will have the biggest effect on emissions and congestion relative to the potential financial impact on Londoners as a whole."

The amendment by Labour was carried by 25 votes to 21, with no abstentions. 

It follows Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas calling on Sadiq Khan to delay the expansion.