Boris Johnson slams Sadiq Khan’s ‘burdensome’ ULEZ expansion plans – ‘tax on drivers’

Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion is 'appalling' says Norris

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The Prime Minister and former Mayor of London called on Sadiq Khan to halt his plans on any ULEZ expansion amid the cost of living crisis. Last week, Transport for London launched a public consultation on whether to expand the ULEZ area, which could be extended on August 29, 2023.

The emissions-based charging area would extend the zone boundary from the North and South Circular Roads to the whole of Greater London.

On a visit to a school in Bromley, the Prime Minister said he agreed with the Bexley Conservatives about their plea to the Mayor to rethink the expansion plans.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “I think it’s timely as I’m in favour of improving air quality and generally air quality has been improving in London.

“It certainly improved on my watch, I remember very considerably.

“I think it was in 2008/9 there was the question of implementing what was then the low emission zone.

“I delayed it and made it less burdensome, precisely because that moment coincided with a huge pressure on the economy, on people’s costs, on families and on small business.

“So what I would say with Bexley Conservatives is that now is the time to recognise those pressures.

“Don’t add more burdens to families now, don’t add more burdens to business. 

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“We can improve air quality together but I think another tax on families and businesses and white vans and the rest of it, is going to hit people just when we’re trying to put more money into their pocket,” MyLondon reported.

Following the local elections at the beginning of May, all of Bexley’s Conservative representatives including 33 councillors, two MPs and its Assembly Member wrote an open letter to the Mayor.

They urged him to listen to residents and drop the ULEZ proposal as it would hit drivers at a time when the cost of living crisis is already having a huge impact.

The open letter also called the expansion “punitive and unfair”.

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Cameron Smith, Conservative Councillor for St Mary’s and St James in the London Borough of Bexley spoke to about the potential expansion.

He said: “At the elections, we stood on a manifesto opposing ULEZ.

“It’s the first time people have had a say on the proposal at the ballot box. 

“[Some] 51 percent of voters backed Bexley Conservatives, sending a clear message to Sadiq Khan.”

If the proposals were to be introduced, Transport for London would bring in an extra £1.7million per day.

It is estimated this would impact an additional 135,000 vehicles.

Drivers with non-compliant vehicles face daily charges of at least £12.50 to drive into the existing ULEZ boundary.

For diesel cars to avoid the charge they must generally have been registered after September 2015, while most petrol models registered from 2005 are exempt.

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