Bill to overturn Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion moves on to next stage in Parliament

By Staff

A proposed new law from an MP to overturn Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion has moved onto the next stage in Parliament. Gareth Johnson, the Conservative representative in the House of Commons for Dartford, has tabled the Greater London Low Emission Zone Charging (Amendment) Bill in a bid to give ministers the power to overturn the Mayor of London’s enlargement of the £12.50 fee to drive non-compliant vehicles to outer boroughs.

But, debate on the proposed legislation, which has now undergone its second reading, must end by 2.30pm today (March, 22) under Parliamentary rules if it is to have a chance of progressing to the next stage. Intervening during a 33-minute speech by Labour MP Lilian Greenwood earlier today, Mr Johnson said: “It’s obvious both she and the Labour Party wish to talk out my Bill to overturn the expansion of ULEZ.”

Mr Johnson earlier said the expansion was ‘unfair’ on people who lived outside London as they had ‘no say on who the London mayor is’, adding: “The border between London and the home counties is not neat. People in my constituency live in Kent yet have to go into London just to exit their road. The border straddles some roads. This is a border that cannot be avoided by people and the mayor of London knows this.”

READ MORE: Reform UK London Mayor candidate says ULEZ ‘blade runner’ vandals are ‘good, decent, honest people’

Mr Johnson added that it was a ‘myth’ to say the expansion was to do with improving air quality, stating: “If it was about air pollution, the Mayor of London would ban these vehicles going into London. He doesn’t want to ban them, he wants to make money out of them.

“If those people driving those motor vehicles give the mayor of London £12.50, they can drive all day long in London – he does not give a damn, it’s got nothing whatsoever to do with air pollution.”

Ms Greenwood accused Mr Johnson of using a serious public health issue ‘for purely party political point-scoring’. She said: “The ultra-low emission zone and indeed emission charging zones are a Tory policy, they were pushed onto local government by a Tory government and first championed here in London by a Tory mayor.”

Mayor ‘legally obliged to improve air quality’

Ms Greenwood added: “The Mayor of London has statutory obligations in relation to air quality across the Greater London area. He has a right, indeed a duty, to introduce measures to meet the national air quality targets set by central government.

“The whole purpose of devolution is for local people to determine the policies that are needed for their area. The Government has set the targets for air quality, it is for democratically elected mayors and local authorities to run their cities or their counties in the way that works best for their area.”

Labour MP Stella Creasy reminded MPs that the London mayoral election takes place on May 2, adding voters will ‘have an opportunity to express an opinion at the ballot box’ in connection with the ULEZ expansion. She questioned if the Bill suggested Tory MPs have ‘no confidence in their mayoral candidate being able to win that argument’.

Transport minister Guy Opperman said: “The Government supports this particular Bill.”

‘We know the ULEZ works’

Mr Khan told the Evening Standard in December: “What this MP should be doing is lobbying the Government for his constituents to get the benefit of a scrappage scheme. Every other part of the country, and those living outside those cities, whether it’s Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester, Bournemouth, have benefitted from Government support towards scrappage schemes – his constituents haven’t.

“What he should be doing is standing up to the Government and getting some money for his constituents and London as well.”

The mayor told MyLondon earlier this month that he is ‘confident’ about that the next report into the effect of the ULEZ expansion. Mr Khan added that previous analysis of the scheme in Central and Inner London have proven that ‘it works’.

“We know it works”, he said, “because of the reduction in nitrogen dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.”

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