Sadiq Khan denies ULEZ scheme expansion is part of ‘war on motorists’

Sadiq Khan denies ULEZ scheme expansion is part of 'war on motorists'

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has denied that the expansion of a scheme to charge polluting cars to drive in the capital is part of a war on motorists.

Asked if he was targeting drivers in an interview with Sky News, he said: “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.

“But there is a war on air pollution, there is a war on premature deaths of Londoners, there is a war in relation to climate change.

“It’s really important that we realise it is not ‘us versus them’.

“All of us benefit from cleaner air, all of us benefit from fewer admissions to hospitals because of respiratory issues, all of us benefit when people are not taking time off work because they’ve got ill health and all of us benefit with people living longer lives.”

Mr Khan plans to expand his ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) to include all London boroughs at the end of August, with people who continue to drive old polluting vehicles charged £12.50 per day.

The scheme has already become an issue among the candidates for next year’s mayoral elections, with promises of a referendum, and pledges to roll the extension back.

London mayor Sadiq Khan boosted by ULEZ court win – but insists he is in ‘listening mode’ after Labour’s Uxbridge defeat

Sadiq Khan denies ULEZ scheme expansion is part of 'war on motorists'

It is increasingly a legal issue too.

Five Conservative-led councils opposed to the ULEZ expansion have succeeded in getting a judicial review on the consultation process for the scheme, which is due to begin at the High Court on 4 July.

Anti-ULEZ campaigner Phil Elliott said: “We’ve got a cost of living crisis right now, we’ve got people who haven’t got money for the gas, the electric, they’re struggling with mortgages, everything is going up – and now Sadiq Khan has come along saying, ‘we’re going to bang you with £12.50 a day, if it’s not £12.50 go and buy yourself a new car and if you can’t get a new car you’re basically screwed’.”

There is a scrappage scheme to help low-income Londoners and smaller businesses and charities, providing up to £2,000 for cars, £5,000 for wheelchair-accessible vehicles, and £5,000-£9,500 for vans and larger vehicles, but opponents say it’s not enough.

Sadiq Khan denies ULEZ scheme expansion is part of 'war on motorists'

Nick Arlett, who has mobility problems and is the lead campaigner for a group called Action Against ULEZ Extension, said: “The problem with the majority of politicians is that they don’t live in the real world, they haven’t got a clue what it’s like to try to survive.

“I don’t have a compliant vehicle, it is as simple as that, I can’t afford a compliant vehicle, his absolute rubbish scrappage scheme – two grand big deal – who pays for the rest of it?

“I can’t afford to do that, so come the end of August, if this comes through – we hope it doesn’t – I’m stuck, I’m stuck indoors.”

Sadiq Khan denies ULEZ scheme expansion is part of 'war on motorists'

Some have gone beyond just protesting.

A group calling themselves The Blade Runners have been actively targeting new cameras by vandalising them or pulling them down.

Recent polling showed that 39% of Londoners were in support of ULEZ and 21% were neutral on the issue, with 35% opposed.

A tool on the Transport for London website allows motorists to check if their vehicle will face charges.


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