Havering becomes latest London borough to formally refuse Ulez expansion
Havering Council has become the latest authority to refuse to co-operate with Transport for London (TfL) on the planned expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).
The borough, run by a coalition of the Havering Residents Association and Labour, said it had “not concluded” a deal with TfL to allow the installation of new CCTV enforcement cameras.
Council leader Ray Morgon said “many residents” across his area “are worried about Ulez being introduced”.
He continued: “We fully understand these worries, especially at the time of a cost of living crisis which is affecting so many people.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan plans to expand the Ulez across all 33 Greater London boroughs on August 29 to reduce road pollution.
It will mean an additional 200,000 drivers a day - who mainly drive older, more polluting vehicles - will have to pay the £12.50 daily levy.
Havering is one of several councils to raise objections to the expansion plan.
Tory-run Harrow, Bromley, Bexley and Hillingdon have jointly threatened legal action, and have until February 24 to decide whether to lodge an application for a judicial review. Croydon has separately been said to be “exploring options” for a legal challenge.
Five other councils – the Lib-Dem boroughs of Kingston, Richmond and Sutton and two Labour-run authorities, Redbridge, and Barking and Dagenham - have also raised concerns or want a delay.
In a statement on Wednesday, Mr Morgon 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 his authority had “not concluded” a “section 8” agreement granting TfL permission to erect CCTV cameras and road signs on borough roads.
TfL already has the legal power to install about two-thirds of the cameras as they will be placed on top of existing traffic lights. It also has the authority to erect cameras on borough roads but has said it would prefer to do this with local consent.
Mr Morgon admitted that “air quality needs to improve”, but said the Ulez expansion should be delayed, with “better mitigation for residents including an enhanced scrappage scheme” and improvements made to Havering’s public transport.
Mr Khan last week launched a £110m scrappage scheme, which is expected to benefit around 30,000 lower-income Londoners, small businesses and charities - helping them to scrap or upgrade non-compliant vehicles.
But Mr Morgon said his council was “still concerned that it isn’t enough to cover the costs of all those who will need to change their vehicles”.
He added: “In 2021, TfL data suggests that 25% of the borough is not compliant. There will, no doubt, be residents who can’t afford to change, including people who need vehicles for their business.”
Mr Morgon also said City Hall had “not considered” the expansion’s “full impact to outer London boroughs” and that his council had a “strong fear” about the impact on people working in London but living outside its boundary, who may “look elsewhere to work as they will not be able to afford the additional financial burden”.
A source close to the Mayor of London said: “We have no time for inaction when around 4,000 Londoners die early due to toxic air and thousands more develop life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma. And it’s people in outer London, particularly the poorest households, who suffer the most from the damaging health effects of toxic air.”
The source added that more than four in five vehicles in outer London are already Ulez compliant.