Mayor Sadiq Khan faces fierce opposition over the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion, which is now pulling in a hefty £715,000 daily. Critics accuse Khan of cold indifference to London’s hardworking populace, while he champions the initiative as a bold stride for cleaner air.
In the face of mounting criticism, Mayor Sadiq Khan staunchly defends the recent expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), a move now generating around £715,000 every day. A freshly unveiled report by Transport for London (TfL) sheds light on the staggering numbers: on an average day in the first month following the expansion, 57,200 drivers shelled out the £12.50 daily charge.
Amidst this unfolding scenario, a torrent of fines flows unabated. On an average, 2,696 fines a day are being slapped on the non-compliant, each fine amounting to £180, although a prompt payment within 14 days slashes it down to £90. The towering revenue figures and the relentless fines have sparked a torrent of outrage, painting the ULEZ expansion as nothing short of a ‘tax grab’.
The flames of dissent are being fanned by Tory London mayoral candidate Susan Hall, who didn’t mince words in denouncing her Labour rival. Hall, brandishing estimates by the Conservatives, underscored that this expansion has till now funnelled a whopping £52 million into the coffers. The vehement accusation of a ‘tax grab’ resonates through the political spectrum, echoing the sentiments of many a disgruntled Londoner.
“To extract over £52 million from the pockets of hardworking individuals, without a whisper of air quality enhancement in this report, is a testament to how indifferent he is to the plight of Londoners,” lambasted Ms Hall. She vowed that, if elected as Mayor, she would dismantle the ULEZ expansion on her very first day in office, a pledge that resonates with those feeling the financial pinch of this initiative.
Adding his voice to the escalating criticism is Minister for London Paul Scully, who has publicly entreated the London Mayor to disengage the ULEZ cameras. In a candid conversation with the Daily Mail, he articulated the growing resentment, “While the Mayor amasses millions, it’s predominantly the less affluent individuals in outer London who are bearing the brunt of this charge. The time has come to switch off the cameras.”
The ULEZ, initially encompassing just the heart of London, mushroomed to cover the entirety of the capital from August 29, all in a bid to bolster air quality. Motorists whose vehicles fall short of the emission standards are mandated to pay a £12.50 daily fee, a reality that has left many with a bitter taste.
Despite the backlash, Mr Khan stands firm on his decision, terming the ULEZ expansion a necessary, albeit difficult, step towards a cleaner London. “A month post-expansion, the evidence is clear – it’s working,” asserted Mr Khan. According to him, London, now boasting the world’s largest clean air zone, has witnessed a notable 10 percentage point uptick in vehicles adhering to the city’s air quality standards since May 2022, when consultation on the ULEZ expansion commenced.
Transport for London’s director of strategy and policy, Christina Calderato, joins Khan in celebrating the apparent success of the initiative. She rejoices at the fact that 95 percent of the vehicles navigating the city’s roads are now in compliance with the transformative air quality standards set by the ULEZ. According to Calderato, the ULEZ has excelled in purging the city’s roads of the oldest, most polluting vehicles, thus heralding a new era of cleaner, healthier air for London. Story Source