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Hertfordshire County Council concerns over looming ULEZ charges in letter to Sadiq Khan

Hertfordshire County Council has written to the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan advising him to ‘go back to the drawing board’ with his plans to expand his Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) due to the detrimental financial impact on the county’s residents and businesses who cross the border into Greater London.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is facing criticism over his expansion of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez) in the capital, with opponents claiming he is using “nonsense” data on air pollution deaths to support his proposal.

Boris Johnson says there is no need for an All-Lonfon Zone.

This week, Khan issued an open letter to four councils challenging the scheme, citing a report by Imperial College London that Bromley had the highest number of premature deaths linked to air pollution. However, further analysis of the report has revealed that the authors had cautioned against attributing the high mortality rate to Bromley’s high levels of pollution, instead pointing to the borough’s high number of elderly residents.

As a county with many centres, villages and towns, there are often challenges to travelling by public transport in Hertfordshire creating reliance on private car journeys. With so many Hertfordshire residents living on the border with London, travel into the proposed ULEZ by car is for many the only realistic available option for some journeys like visiting to provide care and support for loved ones.

The introduction of a £12.50 charge to enter London, particularly at a time when households are struggling and fines of up to £180 for non-compliance are seen as a regressive tax on motorists.

Eric Buckmaster, Executive Member for Environment and Waste, Hertfordshire County Council said:

“Consistent with our views expressed in the consultation we are not supportive of a scheme which is blatantly unfair to residents outside of London.

This is hugely regressive, hitting the poorest hardest, effectively targeting the least well off and the least likely to be able to replace their vehicle. The Mayor needs to go back to the drawing board.

We do not accept that any signage, cameras aimed at fining our drivers, potentially up to £180 if they forget to pay the £12:50 charge, should be based in Hertfordshire.

Cleaner air is a priority in Hertfordshire and with 2030 looming we welcome the long-standing commitment from Government to phase out petrol and diesel engines after this date. In the meantime we should not be penalising those who can least afford it, particularly at this difficult time.”  

Hertfordshire County Council supports the continued rollout of EV charging across the county and the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles as we draw near to the 2030 deadline for petrol and diesel cars and would welcome any support for a wider scrappage scheme.”

The scheme has now picked up the nickname ‘U-Lies’ and a large backlash on social media.

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Hundreds of concerned residents and motorists are protesting the expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone.

Harrow Council is set to spend up to £400,000 of public money in a legal battle against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision, along with Bexley, Bromley, and Hillingdon councils will not sign the Section 8 agreement with TfL” to expand the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).

Despite this, Harrow Council is set to issue High Court proceedings by February 24 against Mr Khan, the Evening Standard has reported.

London City Hall has recently introduced a £110million scrappage scheme to encourage Londoners to replace their older cars ahead of the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). Those with a London address can receive up to £2,000 to scrap their older vehicles, however, those who are not Londoners and regularly visit the capital will not be eligible for the offer.

The scheme is available to private car drivers and motorcyclists who receive low-income and disability benefits but it is not open to those from outside London. This means non-Londoners who are travelling into any of the city’s boroughs after August 29 with a polluting vehicle will still have to pay the ULEZ charge, without the option of exchanging their car for a cleaner model.

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