The Mayor, Sadiq Khan has today announced that, hot on the heels of its expansion to the inner ring road, the ULEZ will be expanded to cover the whole of Greater London in 2023. This news is hugely welcome in the fight against air pollution and the climate emergency.
The expansion comes as an interim step towards full, fair smart road-user charging (charging by km driven, emissions class of vehicle, time, day, location etc.) that the Mayor is now also considering for 2024 or beyond, and as a way of partly plugging the funding gap TfL faces. TfL has received funding from the government in a series of short-term deals following the collapse of ridership revenues during the Covid pandemic. But the government has been insistent that unlike other major global cities, TfL must cover its own day to day operating costs without subsidies by next year.
The announcement of the ULEZ expansion also comes just a few days after yet another person has been killed in a collision at the Holborn gyratory, and on the same day that LCC held a big protest at Holborn to stop the death toll at dangerous junctions like Holborn. As our CEO points out below; the issues of motor traffic, pollution reduction and safety remain linked.
Responding to the announcement, LCC CEO Dr Ashok Sinha said:
“This is a bold and very welcome move by Sadiq. The ULEZ is a success story in cutting the air pollution that shortens or blights the lives of many thousands of Londoners, and its expansion to the whole of London is a world-leading step in the efforts to clean up London’s air. It’s also a key milestone towards the comprehensive, fair and smart road pricing scheme that London needs, to reduce unnecessary car use and help achieve a net zero carbon capital by 2030.
“But Londoners will not leave the car at home and instead adopt the affordable, healthy and convenient option of cycling for short journeys, if they feel their lives are at risk. The tragic death of Shatha Ali cycling through Holborn gyratory last week is a horrible reminder that dangerous junctions pose the worst threat to life and limb of those walking and cycling. This is a situation that has persisted for far too long, and many more Londoners will die cycling and walking until the effective action that is long overdue is finally taken. We call on the Mayor to urgently knock heads together and ensure all London’s lethal junctions are fixed, in parallel with his decisive action to protect life by expanding the ULEZ to cover all of London.”
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