Campaigns Against ULEZ Expansion Increasing

The activities of campaigns against the expansion of the ULEZ to outer London are growing as people realise the financial impact it will have.

There is an active Facebook group named “Action Against ULEZ Extension” which you can join and they are promoting a demonstration in Trafalgar Square on the 28th January (Saturday) at 12.00 noon. Please attend if you can.

[Postscript: The Trafalgar Square event has had to be postponed due to concerns about security. We will advise any new date on this blog when available].

Gareth Bacon, MP for Orpington has been active in promoting opposition in South-East London, and Paul Scully, Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam, is now raising donations to fund an opposition campaign – see: https://donate.conservatives.com/no-ulez?deliveryName=DM17310#!/

Paul says “This new tax will hit thousands of hardworking people and small businesses, just when they can least afford it”. He’s certainly right there and remember it will have negligible impact on air quality. It’s just another tax to bail out Sadiq Khan’s financial mismanagement.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

London Air Quality and ULEZ Expansion Could Be Blocked

Sadiq Khan issued a tweet saying that “London has been ranked the 18th most polluted city in the world based on air quality, light pollution and traffic congestion”. But this is a lie and the tweet has subsequently been deleted.

London is nowhere near 18th most polluted city in the world, on any of these measures. IQair ranks London as the 3739th in the world on air pollution. It is ranked 55th out of just 404 cities on congestion, and the UN reports mean noise pollution as joint 28th out of the 61 cities measured. See https://order-order.com/2022/10/06/fact-check-khans-polluting-claims/ for more information.

It is regrettable that Sadiq Khan and his PR team find it necessary to scare the public in this way in support of his financially driven policies to extract more taxes from Londoners. There is simply no evidence that poor air quality is a major health problem in London.

We have said before that the Government could halt the planned expansion of the ULEZ. Thanks to one of our contacts for the following explanation of the legal position:

“The root cause of the problem is the Greater London Authority Act 1999, which was created during Tony Blair’s New Labour administration, along with the devolved Scottish and Welsh administrations.

Section 295 and schedule 23 of the GLA Act 1999 enables TFL, the Mayor and London Borough Councils to enforce their road user charging schemes such as congestion charge, ULEZ etc. See:

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/29/part/IV/chapter/XV

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/29/schedule/23

Explanatory notes for easy read.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/29/notes/division/5/4/15

If you read the GLA Act 1999 carefully, the Secretary of State does have powers to veto/block road user charging schemes on the grounds of “the incompatibility is detrimental to the interests of persons resident in England outside Greater London.”

Part III, Chapter 1 and schedule 12 of the Transport Act 2000 enables local authorities outside of London (including Metro Mayors) to enforce their road user charging schemes such as Clean Air Zone (CAZ), Congestion Charge (for Cambridge) and traffic filter scheme (for Oxford)

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/38/part/III

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/38/schedule/12

Explanatory notes for easy read.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/38/notes/division/5/3

I have written to Mark Harper, Secretary of State for Transport, pointing out he does have the power to block the ULEZ expansion and should do so. Also I have suggested that the Government should repeal the relevant clauses from the legislations to take road user charging powers away from the Mayors and local authorities, and even make road user charging powers illegal!

With a Conservative majority in the Commons they could also repeal the GLA Act 1999 which will then abolish the Mayor of London and transfer TFL back to Government control.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Mayor Ignores Consultation and Goes Ahead with ULEZ Expansion

Sadiq Khan has issued a statement via TfL confirming that he is expanding the ULEZ to the whole of London in August 2023 (see link below). Any owners of non-compliant cars will be paying £12.50 per day, every day. This decision is despite the fact that it will have minimal impact on air pollution in London and that a major proportion of London residents oppose the change.

The Mayor has announced a scrappage scheme for some people (the disabled and those on means-tested benefits plus small businesses) but in reality very few people are likely to qualify for this support and it is unlikely to cover all the costs of changing vehicles.

The big danger is once the scheme is introduced with new cameras everywhere to enforce it the Mayor could decide to charge all vehicles driving in London which he has always wanted to do. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

The only way this move can be stopped is if the Government removes Sadiq Khan from power, or removes his ability to make these kinds of decisions. Please write to your M.P. on this – go to this web site to do that easily: https://www.writetothem.com/. DO IT NOW!

TfL Statement: https://tfl.gov.uk/modes/driving/ultra-low-emission-zone/ulez-expansion-2023

Report to the Mayor on ULEZ Expansion: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/15619/widgets/58629/documents/34558

FFDF Environment and the ULEZ: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/environment

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

ULEZ Money Generation

We have always argued that the ULEZ scheme was mainly about generating tax money for the Mayor of London, not about reducing air pollution. And so it has turned out to be based on an analysis by the RAC.

They report that the income from non-compliant vehicles was £112 million in the eight months after the scheme was expanded in November 2021 plus over £130 million in penalty charges from those who don’t pay.

Head of Roads Policy at the RAC said “The expansion of the ULEZ has resulted in a much-increased revenue stream for Transport for London, notwithstanding the costs associated with introducing the larger ULEZ. Londoners living outside the current ULEZ will now be worrying about the prospect of further expansion……While we accept that action is needed to reduce toxic emissions from vehicles, the cost-of-living crisis is hurting drivers in the pocket and there is a risk that further enlarging the zone will be hugely costly for those with older vehicles who can least afford to change them for something newer”.

In April 2020 we said this about the ULEZ expansion: “It would be simply madness to proceed with the ULEZ expansion based on what we now know. But the Mayor is now so desperate for money that he might increase the proposed charge, expand the zone even further, or class even more vehicles as “non-compliant”. See https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2020/04/15/ulez-the-latest-information-including-poor-financial-outcome/ for the analysis done at the time on which those comments were based.

The ULEZ is another example of the financial incompetence of Mayor Sadiq Khan which is imposing enormous costs on Londoners.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Expansion of the ULEZ to All of London

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that he plans to expand the ULEZ scheme to the whole of London next year (see press release below).

The latest proposal from the Mayor is yet another example of how his policies are all driven by money. The ULEZ was and is an enormously expensive scheme that is having minimal impact on air pollution levels (these are more influenced by Government taxation policies and the fact that older polluting vehicles do get scrapped sooner or later).

There is no evidence that air pollution significantly affects the life expectancy of Londoners – those who live in the most polluted boroughs often live longer.

His claims about a climate change emergency is just scaremongering and certainly his policies will have no impact whatsoever on global climate change which if it is affected by anything is by CO2 emissions in China and the USA, not by emissions in London.

The expanded ULEZ will add substantial costs to many Londoners and even encourage them to move elsewhere. London is becoming a city only a place to live in for the young and fit and who are willing to put up with using public transport.

There will be a full public consultation on these proposals in due course but in the meantime there is a survey you can respond to on the Talk London platform – see https://www.london.gov.uk/talk-london/reducing-emissions-transport? Please respond to it.

Anyone directly affected by these proposals should 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/

Mayor of London’s Press Release: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-sets-out-london-wide-ulez-plans

More information from the Freedom for Drivers Foundation on the ULEZ and its costs here: https://www.freedomfordrivers.org/environment

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Sadiq Khan’s Plan to Screw Drivers Even More

Two days ago (on 17/01/2022) I pointed out on this blog that the Mayor’s Budget document spelled out that road pricing in London was definitely anticipated. His budgets for future years depend on it.

It became clearer what he is planning yesterday when both the BBC and London Evening Standard provided more details of the Mayor’s plan – see links below.

His proposals include a small daily charge on everyone who drives in London – perhaps £2. He claims this is required based on a report commissioned by City Hall that found that a 27% reduction in London’s car traffic was required by 2030 to meet net-zero ambitions. He has the powers to introduce this but he is also considering a London entry charge for anyone who drives in from outside. A boundary charge (of perhaps £3.5 per day) would require Government consent when they don’t currently favour it.

Longer term, by the end of the decade, he would like to introduce a pay- per-mile system although the technology to do that is not yet available.

In the meantime it looks very likely that he will extend the ULEZ to the whole of London.

The Mayor has said “I have got to make sure there is a disincentive to drive your car, particularly if it is petrol or diesel, when there are alternatives, like public transport”. Yes he would like to force everyone to use public transport which of course he has a financial incentive to advocate. It’s yet another reason to take TfL out of the control of the Mayor.

The justification for these measures is to tackle air pollution and defeat climate change. It certainly won’t do the latter and there is a very good debunking of the claims of death from air pollution on the web site Not a Lot of People Know That – see link below.

Improving air quality is certainly something the Freedom for Drivers Foundation supports but there needs to be a clear cost/benefit and the measures our national Government has been taking have been by far the most effective to reduce air pollution. London’s measures introduced by Sadiq Khan have been enormously financially damaging with very little benefit. He postures about saving the world while spending your money ineffectively.

BBC Report: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-60030127

Evening Standard Report: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/sadiq-khan-clean-air-charge-petrol-diesel-cars-ulez-expansion-london-b977223.html?

Deaths from Air Pollution: https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/08/15/claims-of-40000-deaths-from-air-pollution-debunked-by-death-statistics/

Roger Lawson

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.

Making London Transport Sustainable

The battle over funding for London’s Transport goes on.  At the time of writing the government has granted a paltry 7-day extension of funds to TfL while demanding Mayor Sadiq Khan comes up with alternative proposals for how he will generate an extra £500m – £1bn a year to fund his apparently unsustainable transport system.  This while at the same time the Government is encouraging people to work from home again, significantly reducing public transport usage once more. In granting this 7-day extension it’s interesting to note the plans proposed by Khan, which the government rightly rejected.  These were:

•         A return of VED paid by London car owners to TfL

•         A Greater London Boundary Charge, charging motorists who come from outside London into it £3.50 a day.

•         A levy on deliveries made for online purchases, targeting delivery drivers.

Other ideas still on the table include raising the Congestion Charge and ULEZ tax rates.  The latter would be after the recently expanded zone failed to raise the income anticipated. Khan may speak of how it has reduced the number of polluting vehicles, but you do not introduce a new tax without planning on it raising substantially more revenue in the future.

What do all the above have in common? They are all targeting private motor vehicles – the car and delivery vans. Khan’s message is crystal clear: he wants to raise money from drivers rather than tackle the basic problem that public transport users in London do not pay for the cost of the services that are provided. It’s unsustainable.

Fundamental reform is needed to make transport in London more sustainable. Only then will Sadiq Khan need to stop asking the Government for more bail-outs.

You can “follow” this blog by entering your email address in the box below.  You will then receive an email alerting you to new posts as they are added.