ULEZ Expansion Assessment – A Complete Fraud

I have now had time to read the “London-wide ULEZ Integrated Impact Assessment” report produced by Jacobs (see link below) which TfL commissioned on the expansion of the ULEZ scheme to the whole of London.

It makes for interesting reading and covers the likely impact on the environment, on health, on equality and on the economy. I’ll pick out some key points:

  • They forecast a reduction of 1.7% in total car trips across Greater London as a result, but there would be a big reduction in people driving into London from outside for shopping and other purposes of 14.2%. In effect the scheme would impact many people who don’t even live in London and have no vote on the Mayor. In the outer London suburbs and further out there are a lot of retired and poorer people who run vehicles that are non-compliant and cannot afford to buy new ones.
  • A scrappage scheme is proposed to help people move to compliant vehicles but that would only likely be targeted at a small minority of affected people.
  • They identify differential impacts (i.e. negative ones) on the disabled and people with restricted mobility who need to shop or visit health facilities but don’t propose any mitigation measures to tackle that problem.
  • They recognise the impact on tradespeople and small businesses that operate non-compliant LGVs.
  • The reduction in air pollution in Greater London would be miniscule – about 0.1% in the important PM2.5 emissions for example (see Page 48 of the Report). Nobody is going to notice this and it won’t have any significant impact on health outcomes.
  • The negligible impact on health is show in tables 6.2 onwards and the report states that “health benefits from reductions in PM2.5 are relatively small”.
  • The problem of people visiting hospitals within the zone who are not able to use public transport for a variety of reasons (such as vulnerable to covid or other infections) is mentioned and there is a congestion/ULEZ refund scheme operated by hospitals but many people don’t know about it. It is also complex to make a claim as this writer knows from personal experience.
  • In reality there are numerous people that will be negatively impacted or incur substantial costs which the report effectively glosses over. Some of the impacts are ignored – such as the impact on retail businesses in outer London, while the suggested “mitigation” measures are unlikely to be very effective.
  • The report ignores the financial cost of expanding the scheme with thousands of new camera and road signs required.

In summary this report shows how damaging the expansion will be with many negative impacts and negligible positive ones, but will Mayor Sadiq Khan pay any attention? We will see soon no doubt.

Jacobs Report: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/15619/widgets/44946/documents/27025

Roger Lawson

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Latest Air Quality in Bromley Data Shows No Need for ULEZ Expansion

The latest Air Quality Annual Status Report for the London Borough of Bromley which has just been published shows there is no justification for the expansion of the ULEZ scheme to outer London boroughs like Bromley.

To quote from a Council report: “There were no monitored exceedances of the annual or daily mean for Particulate Matter (PM10) in 2021. The annual average was 15.4μgm-3 . This is well below the national limit of 40μgm-3 .

The annual mean for Particulate Matter (PM2.5) concentration in 2021 was 9.7μgm-3 . This was also well below the national limit of 20μgm-3 .

Historically, the trend in Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) concentration at the Harwood Avenue permanent continuous monitoring station, shows a decreasing trend. There was a slight increase from 2020 to 2021. This was due to life returning to normal following the changes to traffic levels during the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. The trends in NO2 concentrations for diffusion tube monitoring sites (for those with more than one year of data) for the 2015 – 2021 period also show evidence of a decreasing trend and all sites were below the national limit”.

In summary the measured pollution levels are well below national standards even on busy roads and the trend is downwards. There are unlikely to be any negative health impacts from the current levels of air pollution.

You can see the full report in the Agenda Reports Pack (Item 17) for the Council meeting on the 6th September here: https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=127&MId=7414&Ver=4

Roger Lawson

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Bromley Council Opposes ULEZ Expansion

Bromley Council Opposes ULEZ Expansion

The London Borough of Bromley has opposed the expansion of the ULEZ to cover the borough and have condemned it as a “cynical tax raid against the borough’s residents”.

Councillor Colin Smith, Leader of Bromley Council, said, “Quite simply, this proposal is wrong on just about every level and is really about paving the way for the introduction of road charging taxes across the whole of London by stealth.

Our borough already has amongst, if not actually the best air quality levels in London, and if this were truly about improving air quality even further, which we obviously support, those responsible would be thinking far harder in terms of broadening the scrappage scheme for non-compliant vehicles and accelerating the roll out of green vehicle charging points and buses”.

You can read his full response to the consultation on ULEZ expansion here: https://www.bromley.gov.uk/news/article/366/no-to-mayor-of-london-s-ulez-expansion-proposals

Comment: The Council’s response is well argued and basically says that the Council is already doing a good job of minimising and reducing air pollution while the expansion of the ULEZ to cover outer London will not significantly help and will be very costly for many residents.

Expansion of the ULEZ to outer London will hit those with older vehicles hard which are generally the poorer segment of the population. A good article on this subject was published by the Daily Telegraph here: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2022/08/10/sadiq-khans-hatred-motorists-control/ . It’s a symptom of Mayor Sadiq Khan’s hatred of cars despite the fact that public transport in outer London cannot be relied on and many people drive into the outer boroughs from surrounding counties for employment and shopping.

Expansion of the ULEZ makes no economic sense – the money involved would be better spent on other measures to reduce air pollution which is already very low in boroughs such as Bromley.

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Mayor Falsely Claims ULEZ has Improved Air in London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has issued a press release and a report claiming that the air in London is a lot cleaner after the last expansion of the ULEZ. For example, it is suggested that NO2 concentrations alongside roads in inner London are estimated to be 20 per cent lower than they would have been without the ULEZ and its expansion.

This is no doubt an attempt to justify a further expansion to the whole of London which is still open to public consultation.  However if you read the detailed report it is not at all clear why air quality in some locations has improved, however much it is to be welcomed.

Other factors that may have affected the figures have been ignored. For example the report says this: “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic (“the pandemic”) and individual, regional and national responses to address it, mean that 2020 and 2021 have been different from previous years. This is particularly so for travel and transport as people reacted to lockdown measures and wider concerns about the pandemic by changing their work and travel habits. The pandemic impacted traffic volumes in London in 2020 and 2021, with central London being especially affected. This will in turn have impacted pollution levels across the city. In July 2021 most lockdown restrictions were formally lifted, and much of the economy has now returned to near normal levels of activity. However, central London traffic levels are still not back to pre-pandemic levels”.

It is also worth noting that as vehicles get replaced or upgraded, newer ones tend to be a lot cleaner. There is a natural turnover of vehicles and newer ones are cleaner plus people have been avoiding buying diesel vehicles whose numbers registered in London have fallen. Many people and businesses are also now buying electric vehicles and not just to avoid paying a ULEZ charge.

Another big change is that more London buses are now ULEZ compliant and HGVs have also been replaced with cleaner vehicles. These have had big impacts on air pollution in London along main roads.

But all these changes have not justified the ULEZ expansion and the costs imposed on car and van drivers. Neither do they justify further expansion of the ULEZ which will cost TfL many millions of pounds to implement and cost some drivers a great deal also. If you have not already responded to the public consultation, please do so from the link below:

Clean Air Consultation: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/cleanair

TfL cannot afford to spend the money on expanding the ULEZ as they are already desperately short of money so why do they want to do it? Probably because it will give them the capability to introduce a London-wide road charging system using the cameras that will be installed.

TfL Report: https://www.london.gov.uk/WHAT-WE-DO/environment/environment-publications/expanded-ultra-low-emission-zone-six-month-report

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ULEZ Expansion to Cost £200 Million

The expansion of the ULEZ scheme to the whole of London will cost £200 million according to a report in the Evening Standard. Based on FOI Act requests, they report that this is required mainly to pay for the extra cameras and does not include the cost of a scrappage scheme which has been promised. Neither does it include the cost imposed on London residents who would need to change their vehicles.

As many as 40,000 vehicles would need to be changed so that’s potentially many more millions of pounds imposed on a proportion of the population with very little benefit.

Nick Rogers, a Tory member of the London Assembly, is quoted as saying “£200m could buy 500 electric buses or fund hundreds of low-traffic “school streets”.

This is yet another example of the reckless expenditure by Mayor Sadiq Khan and TfL. When you are running out of money (as TfL is), you need to stop spending it. TfL might get more income in the short term from non-compliant vehicles paying the charge or from fines on those who don’t pay, but that would likely soon disappear as people changed their vehicles.

Another recent example of gross waste was the disclosure that almost 600 TfL staff earn more than £100,000. The financial management of TfL is clearly out of control. TfL pays such high salaries that it sucks in traffic engineers and management from London boroughs and outside London thus denuding them of valuable expertise.

TfL needs to be removed from the control of the Mayor, and a public transport authority (which is what TfL is) should not have control of the roads used by private vehicles. As we have said before, major reform of the governance and control of TfL is required.  

Evening Standard article: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/ulez-expansion-greater-london-boundary-cost-two-hundred-million-pounds-b1011721.html

The public consultation on expansion of the ULEZ is still open so please respond to it here if you have not already done so: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/cleanair?cid=clean-air

Roger Lawson

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ULEZ Expansion and Changes to Euston Road

This note is a wrap up of recent news.

Euston Road

Firstly Transport for London (TfL) are changing the Euston Road scheme. This scheme which introduced a cycle lane has caused terrible traffic congestion on what is one of the key arterial roads in London particularly for east/west traffic. To quote from TfL:

“We have decided to make significant alterations to the scheme, including reinstating the bus lane and the removal of the temporary eastbound cycle lane. We will, however, retain some elements of the scheme which is set out below.

As London gets busier our monitoring has identified significant increases to bus journey times along Euston Road, resulting in delays to bus passengers. We are also seeing increased traffic congestion on Euston Road. Furthermore, High Speed 2 (HS2) construction works are planned in and around Euston Station and HS2 will need to use road space on the Euston Road as part of their construction plans.

Reinstating the bus lane on Euston Road should help to reduce the delays currently experienced. As road space will be required for the HS2 works, it will not be possible to maintain a cycle lane here. Cyclists can continue to use the bus lane and there is an alternative route just south of Euston Road.

We will shortly remove the cycle lane and reinstate the eastbound bus and traffic lane along Euston Road. We are currently planning a construction programme for the works which we expect to take place later in the summer, although we will write to local businesses and residents to confirm the extent of works and dates when confirmed”.

Comment: All they seem concerned about is bus journey times when this scheme degraded the road network for all vehicle users and was yet another damaging and ill-conceived road scheme in London.

ULEZ Expansion

Opposition to the expansion of the ULEZ scheme to the whole of London is growing. A new petition has been raised against it on change.org. Please sign it here: https://chng.it/wCC249NWK8

Sadiq Khan has claimed that “the greatest number of deaths attributable to toxic air are in outer London boroughs”. This is a false claim with no evidence to support it. There may be more deaths from respiratory disease in outer London but that is because there are more elderly people living in outer London boroughs. There is no connection to air pollution as boroughs such as Bromley have cleaner air than central London boroughs.

The Mayor claims that the ULEZ expansion will also “tackle the climate emergency” and “reduce congestion”. How exactly? He does not explain.

In reality the Mayor is using false statistics to justify imposing more taxes on vehicle owners and targeting the small minority of people who drive older vehicles. They can typically ill-afford to upgrade their vehicles.

The Mayor even concedes that “the dominant proportion of road transport emissions are now non-exhaust emissions including tyre and brake wear along with road wear and resuspension of particles as vehicles travel on roads….”. You can therefore anticipate that after older vehicles there will be new taxes soon to deter all vehicle usage. You have been warned!

See https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/cleanair for what the Mayor and TfL are saying. Please do respond to the consultation.         

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Sadiq Khan Commits to Expanding ULEZ to All London

The Mayor of London is pushing ahead with expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London despite strong opposition from outer London boroughs. He has launched a public consultation (see link below) on his proposal. The plan is to expand it in August 2023 and anyone with a non-compliant vehicle will need to pay £12.50 per day – that means older vehicle users, particularly diesel cars and vans.

He claims this is necessary to clean up London’s air but it’s really about raising tax to fill the yawning hole in TfL’s budget.

The consultation document claims it will lead to a 9% reduction in NOx emissions in outer London and a 6% reduction in CO2 emissions but will anyone notice the difference? These changes will not have any significant impact on the health of Londoners and the Mayor’s comments about cutting “harmful emissions to help save the planet” are just nonsense. It won’t save the planet from anything but it will cost many Londoners an enormous amount in paying the charge or having to replace their vehicles.

He even suggests that his proposals will help to reduce traffic congestion. Again a nonsensical claim unless he manages to discourage vehicle use altogether which is clearly the plan. An outright attack on freedom of movement and the choice of how you travel.

His claims about the impact of the ULEZ in central London are grossly exaggerated. Emissions have reduced mainly because the vehicle fleet has been renewed as older vehicles are scrapped and central Government tax incentives have encouraged more fuel-efficient vehicles (including EVs).

The Mayor says that only one in five drivers in London will be impacted but the financial impact on them will be devastating.

The Mayor has proposed a vehicle scrappage scheme to support low income and disabled people and he mentions a reimbursement scheme for NHS patients but no details are provided. A vehicle scrappage scheme is likely to be very limited in scope and likewise any reimbursement scheme for patients (there is one already but it’s administratively complex and limited so don’t expect it to help much).

There will be a large cost involved in installing all the extra cameras required to enforce the scheme, which TfL can barely afford, and once installed it will give the Mayor the ability to charge all vehicles to drive in London. Don’t expect the Mayor to give up on a new revenue source!

Make sure you respond to the public consultation below and object!  

ULEZ Expansion Consultation: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/cleanair?tool=survey_tool

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Petition Against ULEZ Expansion

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, intends to expand the ULEZ scheme to the whole of London next year. At least he will unless there is strong opposition to it.

A good petition against it has been raised – see https://chng.it/c9xbC5fWTC . Please sign it!

An expanded ULEZ will mean drivers in outer London will need to pay £12.50 per day every day of the year if they drive an older vehicle. But there is simply no justification on environmental grounds. It will make very little difference to air pollution.

The Mayor is just scaremongering in the interest of raising taxes to help pay for his financial mismanagement of TfL.

Anyone directly affected by these proposals should also write to their Member of Parliament because only the Government can stop Sadiq Khan pursuing these damaging policies. See https://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-an-mp-or-lord/contact-your-mp/

BUT DO MAKE SURE YOU SIGN THE PETITION!

Roger Lawson

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Petition Against ULEZ Expansion

Gareth Bacon, Member of Parliament for Orpington, has created a petition you can sign against the expansion of the ULEZ to the rest of London.

He points out that anyone driving an older car will be charged £12.50 per day if Sadiq Khan gets his way.  He says that when household bills are rising due to inflation and global supply problems, the Mayor’s plan will hit the poorest in our community hardest. It will punish people, small businesses, and charities who cannot afford a new vehicle to raise money for Sadiq Khan’s failing administration.

He says he will do everything he can to stop Khan’s plan.

Signing the petition below will help stop the Mayor’s plan by showing the level of opposition to the expansion of ULEZ.

Sign the petition here: https://www.garethbacon.com/stop-ulez-expansion and stop Sadiq Khan’s new tax. And please share it with friends.

Roger Lawson

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Manchester Campaign Against CAZ and Bromley Air Quality

While Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, plans to expand his ULEZ scheme, in Manchester there has been a very effective campaign against their proposed CAZ scheme. Mayor Andy Burnham is now back-tracking on the proposals.

Daily charges for the most polluting vehicles that don’t meet emission standards – HGVs, buses, non-Greater Manchester licensed taxis and Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) – had been due to begin on 30 May 2022 but will now not go ahead. The withdrawn legal direction would have led to charges for non-compliant vans, Greater Manchester-licensed taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) from June 2023. Private cars, motorcycles and mopeds were exempt. Concerns about financial hardship for local people and the availability of compliant vehicles led the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Greater Manchester local authority leaders to ask government to lift its legal direction. Greater Manchester’s 10 local authorities have until 1 July 2022 to work with government to develop a new plan that will clean up the air while protecting livelihoods.

The campaign against the Manchester CAZ has 90,000 supporters under the banner Rethink GM. Go here for more information: www.rethinkgm.co.uk and to register support. On the home page click “Forums” then “Register” with just your name and email. The web site also provides a link to an active Facebook page.

Meanwhile the London Borough of Bromley have shown that it is not necessary to impose expensive ULEZ or CAZ schemes to clean up the air (most of that borough is outside the London ULEZ scheme). A press release from Bromley reports that updated data from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory shows that between 2016 and 2019 there was a 23% decline in NO2 across the borough, a 19% decline in PM2.5 and a 28% decline in PM10 particulates.

Bromley claims to now be the “cleanest and greenest borough in London”.

For more details see Bromley press release here: https://www.bromley.gov.uk/news/article/2825/big_improvements_in_air_quality

Comment: Bromley has of course ignored demands for LTNs and road closures and is keen to keep traffic moving. But they have pursued positive initiatives such as electric bus trials. Unlike many Labour controlled boroughs in London they have taken a more empirical and less dogmatic approach to the air quality issue.

Readers are reminded that the London ULEZ did little to contribute to improvements in air quality so why is the Mayor wanting to expand it? See https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2021/11/17/ulez-had-minimal-impact-on-air-pollution/ . It will cost a great deal to install hundreds of new cameras to expand the zone and high operating costs, apart from the impact on residents who will need to buy new vehicles or pay £12.50 per day. Although the Mayor says he has abandoned the idea of a boundary charge for people driving into London from outside, the extra cameras will make it very easy to introduce such a scheme!

Roger Lawson

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