Khan ‘loses London’ with push to impoverish ordinary Londoners using vehicles

Petition demands abandonment of plan that will cost even residents thousands a year or ‘price working Londoners off roads’

Sadiq Khan’s plan to penalise hundreds of thousands of ordinary Londoners has lost him the next mayoral election, say Labour insiders.

Khan is looking to extend the ‘Ultra Low Emission Zone’ (ULEZ) from its current area within London’s inner ring road to almost the whole London area. The zone, which operates for 364 days a year, levies an eye-watering charge of £12.50 per day on anyone using a vehicle within it that does not meet ‘ultra low emission’ standards. Goods vehicles pay a different charge.

The current zone is limited to the area inside the city’s north and south circular, as shown by Transport for London (TfL) on its website:

But Khan wants to extend it across almost the whole London area and asked TfL to launch a consultation to that end – which went against his plan, but he is pressing ahead anyway:

The extended zone will cover largely residential areas of the city, penalising anyone driving to work even if they don’t enter the city centre as well as families dropping kids at school or childcare, or driving for other hard-to-avoid reasons.

Even if you make a short trip inside the zone using a vehicle that doesn’t meet the ULEZ emissions standards, you need to pay the £12.50 daily charge. This includes residents of the ULEZ.

The new scheme will inflict a charge of potentially thousands of pounds a year on people already barely coping with the ‘cost of living’ crisis caused by corporate greed, government mismanagement and poor opposition. TfL’s advice to those who can’t afford to pay is ‘walk or cycle’, or use public transport.

Labour insiders have said that they believe the move could cost Khan the next mayoral election. One told Skwawkbox:

Sadiq just lost London.

A petition against the plan has already received more than 100,000 signatures.

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    1. Where’s the pollution coming from? I drive a euro6 diesel that produces very little pollution, especially as ALL of its journey are in the countryside. Like many cars its engine stops when the car stops. Lots of pollution in London comes from non-Euro6 lorries, and from people bizarrely using log burners and non-seasoned wood. Is Khan going to ban those? How about he insists there are wind farms in the Royal Parks and every commewrcial building has solar panels?

      1. Joe – If your diesel vehicle is Euro 6 compliant then it is also ULEZ compliant.

      2. Well, I didn’t know that, and after I entered my reg they happily took the cash off me when I went to London, even though their own software can check each vehicle!

      3. How many log burners are there in London & how do you know that the wood they burn has not been sufficiently dried? Where do they get this un-seasoned fuel? I suggest that diesel is still an extremely polluting & dirty fuel & Euro6 standards do not eliminate nitrogen oxide nor healih damaging particulants. Where is the pollution coming from……..let me take you to Bootle on Merseyside (the asthma capital of the North West) to jog alongside the diesel lorries & cars on the dock road? I have many friends who live in Bootle, but none of them have a log burner.

      4. @JoeRobson

        Commercial activities. Bus strikes in London have shown an approximate 40% in pollution on Oxford Street in the past. Then there’s all those trucks. Fully loaded, they’ll blast through a litre a mile if they are lucky.

        The trucks are irreplaceable. There is nothing that can substitute diesel. This problem alone makes me wonder about such groups as stop oil. Without trucks, society will collapse in days and they offer absolutely no solution only disruption.

        As for Kahn, what else would you expect. Guy’s a rat

      5. @NVLA

        There are hybrid trucks around that maybe can reduce the amount of diesel exhaust pollution in urban areas somewhat, although as far as I know the technology is still in relatively early stages for the largest HGV’s.

        As well as hybrid buses, which have been in service in my local area, I remember we had a Class 2 one at Norbert Dentressangles when I worked there almost 10 years ago now. How well it performed I couldn’t say as I was a fork-lift operator, not a lorry driver.

        Also many trucks, including Class 1’s, now use Adblue which helps reduce nitrous oxide emissions.

  1. I thought I’d heard a little while ago that the Johnson government were forcing Khan to extend the ULEZ zones.

    1. That would not surprise me. They tried it on in Greater Manchester.
      It is a typical Tory trick: they set up a rule or law, then join the voices raised against it.
      The target of this particular episode was the metro mayor,Andy Burnham, but decisions on the Gtr Manchester ULEZ are reserved to the local councils working together.

  2. I think it is worth looking into this in a little bit more detail. I say this as someone who lives outside London who cannot drive into the ULEZ without incurring charges due to my NOx-heavy cheating VW diesel car. The ULEX applies to petrol cars that meet Euro 4 and diesel one that meet Euro 6, brought in in 2005 and 2015 respectively, although some cars that meet these standards have been available since 2001 and 2012. There are 35 million passenger cars in the country and diesel cars were at a maximum 40% of sales. I looked at the sales figures for cars for the years 2004-2020, taking 60% of those from 2004-2013 and 100% from 2014-2020, starting earlier as a proxy for 2021 sales which are not in the table. This gives a minimum estimate of 27 million passenger cars that meet the London ULEZ standard. That’s 77% and it could well be higher in the South-East, as it is a region that is generally more wealthy than the rest of the UK.

    Of course, that does not help the poorest, who are likely to run the oldest, most polluting cars. But that does not mean the ULEZ should be opposed, in my opinion. What should be campaigned for is for those who cannot afford it for their cars to be fitted with Adblue units and new, Euro 6 conforming particulate filters, using revenues from the ULEZ.

    What this shows is that the ULEZ’s will not be that effective in reducing pollution, especially as the standards for commercial vehicles and buses etc. seem to be lower (but I haven’t looked into this in detail). It should be noted that the energy crisis is likely to have a severe polluting effect in our cities, at least as regards particulates. Wood-burning stoves are already more polluting than motor vehicles for particulates in cities and that is before the 5-fold increase in wood orders – reported in August in New Scientist – kicks in. Only 7% of households have wood burners, and they generally not the most deprived members of the community.

  3. philw53
    Didn’t you just make an argument against the zone itself? If 77% of vehicles are compliant and the remainder are generally owned by the poorest people the ‘zone’ is simply a way of extorting fees from those who can’t afford them- to convince them to buy new cars!
    When you consider that administration of the system is likely to cost almost as much as is collected the exercise is revealed as being both stupid and bloody minded.
    Welcome to Centrist London.

    1. There are two aspects to the the question you ask. Firstly, I honestly don’t know what proportion of NOx and particulates are produced by cars that are non-compliant with Euro4 and 6, compared with compliant cars, which will still be polluting to some extent, along with the plethora of commercial vehicles circulating. I don’t think, however, that this is an argument against the principle of the ULEZ. This is because of the second reason, which is that it is not good politics to oppose such measures where they will have a effects, even if they are relatively small. Imagine what the family of 9-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah, killed by pollution on the South Circular, would say in the media about people who oppose this measure outright.

      It is perfectly right to oppose the way this is implemented though, and this as you rightly say is being done in a way that hits the poorest hardest. I made a suggestion for how this problem could be overcome. There may well be better ones, but I think it’s always best to fight for a cleaner environment and to do so in a way that promotes social justice. I think it would be easy enough to demand that Sadiq Khan address the way the measure discriminates against those least able to afford it.

      Of course there’s a lot more that needs to be done to fight pollution from cars, especially CO2 emissions.

  4. Look, the planet is in severe danger,, people need to wise up.. fast.. and switch to non/less polluting vehicles. (let alone the 1000’s deaths caused by air pollution)…

    1. @Alan R

      My, what a drama queen you are!

      The planet will be fine. You’re aware of how the moon appeared? How dinosaurs came and went?

      Still, I’m sure you’ll be comforted by rich folks flying around the globe in their private jets so they can line their pockets that little bit more.

      The problem is not pollution, it’s what causes it. Capitalism. You still consuming?

      1. How dinosaurs came and went?

        Quite NVLA. And there were untold millions, if not billions, of them. This one in particular, weighing in at around 57 tonnes (!), beggars belief:

        Patagotitan mayorum lived about 101 million years ago, during the early Cretaceous period, near the end of the dinosaurs’ reign on Earth. It was one of the three or four biggest species of titanosaur now known to science. These creatures were built like suspension bridges with a huge spine, a vast neck for gathering food from trees and a tail to provide balance.

        “They were herbivores that gobbled up plants and leaves and fermented them in their vast stomachs, producing huge amounts of methane as a byproduct – so you would not want to hang around the back end of one of these animals,” Barrett said. “In fact, some people argue that plant-eating dinosaurs like these belched out so much methane they contributed to the greenhouse heating that then had the planet in its grip.”

    2. Oh my God. That’s horrible. We’re all going to die and we won’t have any soldiers to fight Putin and Xi. Time to get the super glue. Tabatha, Titania, Tobelerone your time has come. Get stuck onto those roads.

    1. Weird, they just have. It has been an ongoing problem, should I use proton? regards, John and Julie.

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