Havering becomes latest London borough to formally refuse ULEZ expansion
Havering Council has become the latest authority refusing to back plans for the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in August.
The authority has joined the list of rebel areas refusing the current plans for the expansion, which proposes to include all 33 London boroughs from August 29.
ULEZ is a designated area in London where £12.50 daily fee is charged for driving the highest-polluting vehicles – typically affecting older cars.
Havering Council leader Ray Morgon released a statement on Wednesday to explain why the borough is joining Harrow, Hillingdon, Bexley, Bromley and Croydon in not throwing its support behind the proposals.
He said: ‘To date, we have not heard of any strong legal case to stop ULEZ being implemented, but remain open minded to any arguments to the contrary.
‘We will always act in the best overall interests of our residents.’
Mr Morgon said many residents across Havering are ‘worried’ about the charges being introduced ‘especially at the time of a cost of living crisis.’
He felt the Greater London Authority (GLA) failed to ‘consider the full impact on outer London boroughs’ with several outer boroughs looking to take possible legal action.
The council leader pointed towards concerns for those living outside the borough, including many key workers.
He added: ‘There is no support for those employees who travel into Havering daily and our strong fear is that many will look elsewhere to work as they will not be able to afford the additional financial burden.
‘It is already very hard to recruit to these services and there are known shortages of staff, and this will become much worse if ULEZ is introduced too quickly.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had already written to the leaders of the existing rebel Councils – who are all considering a court challenge to the policy – to try and get them to cooperate.
They now have until Friday, February 24, to decide whether to pursue an application for judicial review.
What do London councils think of the proposed ULEZ expansion?
Councils that support ULEZ expansion:
- Waltham Forest
Councils calling for delays or with concerns:
- Barking & Dagenham
Councils that oppose ULEZ expansion:
Councils currently in ULEZ charge zone:
- Hammersmith & Fulham
- Kensington & Chelsea
- Tower Hamlets
Croydon, which has also come out against the plans, is said to be ‘exploring options’ for a legal challenge.
Mr Khan previously said: ‘I expect any legal challenge will be unsuccessful.
‘Instead of pursuing an expensive legal challenge funded by local residents, I would hope you would work with me to help clean up the dirty air that’s blighting our city and the lives of those we represent.’
Though not opposing the expansion, Richmond, Kingston, Sutton, Redbridge and Barking & Dagenham councils have all raised concerns or called for delays due to the cost of living crisis.
Mr Khan previously said air pollution is making Londoners ‘sick from cradle to the grave’, with illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.
He described the ULEZ as ‘transformational’ and claimed extending it will mean ‘five million more people will be able to breathe cleaner air and live healthier lives’.
For diesel cars and vans to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered from 2016, while most petrol models registered from 2006 are exempt – which they can check on the TfL website.
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