Standard sides with Mayor Khan and backs ULEZ extension

Expansion: ULEZ has helped to improve air quality in central London. The Tories oppose it

The Evening Standard, not a newspaper which regularly supports London’s Labour Mayor, nor is it known for its fervent support of environmental issues, has come out on the side of Sadiq Khan and plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone – ULEZ – to outer London.

That ULEZ expansion will include Croydon, where air quality monitors regularly show levels of pollutants to be three or four times greater than supposedly legal limits.

And a leader column in the London evening paper last night asserted: “Sadiq Khan is right to put air quality at the heart of his mayoralty.”

The paper effectively accused Theresa Villiers, the MP for Chipping Barnet, of being pro-pollution for bringing a Bill to Parliament which would allow Westminster to over-rule London’s Mayor on ULEZ. “This is not only an affront to devolution, but a plan to actively keep the capital’s air dirty,” the paper said.

It was not so long ago that the Standard was nicknamed the Evening Boris for its fawning support of Khan’s Tory predecessor as London Mayor. Even more recently, the paper had its pages under the rookie editorship of Gideon Osborne, the former Conservative Chancellor.

Pro-pollution: Tory MP Theresa Villiers

So for it to come out now in support of what for some – mostly Tories and the far-right – is a contentious issue could be fairly regarded as a surprise.

ULEZ currently extends as far as the South Circular and the North Circular, but from August it will cover most of Greater London, including Croydon. Under ULEZ rules, those driving within that area with “non-complaint” vehicles will face a £12.50 fee per day.

Most petrol cars produced after January 2006 will be compliant, while diesel vehicles which are Euro 6-compliant will be exempt from ULEZ charges (almost every diesel car produced since September 2015 meets the standard). All electric cars are exempt from ULEZ charges, but hybrids will need to comply with the relevant standards.

It is reckoned that 9-in-10 vehicles currently being used in outer London comply with the ULEZ standards.

In its editorial opinion piece yesterday, the Standard said, “Air pollution continues to blight our city and cost lives — toxic air is linked with cancers, circulatory diseases and strokes. And, according to a new survey, 4-in-10 Londoners are considering moving out of the capital because of it, representing the highest figure in the country.

“That is why Sadiq Khan is right to put air quality at the heart of his mayoralty, and why the Evening Standard supports the extension of the ultra low emission zone to the Greater London boundary, set to come into effect on August 29.

“Of course, not everyone agrees. Conservatives in City Hall have campaigned against it, Tory-run local authorities have taken legal action to try and stop it, while central Government remains hostile. Yet it is still surprising that London MP Theresa Villiers, a former Cabinet minister, has introduced legislation in Parliament to amend the Greater London Authority Act in order to allow ministers to effectively overturn the ULEZ extension.

Motoring U-turn: the normally Conservative-supporting Standard has come out in support of ULEZ expansion

“This is not only an affront to devolution, but a plan to actively keep the capital’s air dirty, with profound consequences. Indeed, toxic air pollution caused by London traffic is leading to nearly 4,000 premature deaths a year, according to City Hall analysis.

“We understand the opposition some feel over the ULEZ expansion, and share the frustration that the Government and City Hall will not provide more funds for the vehicle scrappage scheme.

“But ridding our city of toxic air is the task of this generation of political leaders, and cannot be delayed. Because once we can all enjoy clean air, future Londoners will wonder how we ever lived without it.”

Read more: Ignore ULEZ scare stories – it will reduce traffic and save lives
Read more: Part-time Perry is fiddling over ULEZ while Croydon burns

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9 Responses to Standard sides with Mayor Khan and backs ULEZ extension

  1. Christopher M BROWN says:

    If 90% of vehicles are already ULEZ compliant and all new vehicles will be, what is the point of the massive cost of setting ULEZ up?
    Doesn’t make sense in any way. There’s a cost with no income and little or no health benefit now and none in the future.

  2. Tom Smith says:

    Soo… Just like Inside Croydon then?

  3. Peter Underwood says:

    As I’ve said previously, the ULEZ isn’t the best system but it is a move in the right direction. Just like the limits on drinking and driving or being prevented from smoking in public buildings, there are a few people who scream about it restricting their freedom without showing any concern for the consequences of their actions on others. Sadly, that noisy minority are being encouraged by the current Conservative Party which has lost any sense of being responsible for the wellbeing of people.

    For the sake of our health and the health of the environment we depend on, the time when lots of people owned petrol and diesel cars is coming to an end. It will take time to adjust, and I believe far more money should be put into providing public and sustainable transport options. But we do need to change, and our children and grandchildren will be grateful if we do it as quickly as possible.

  4. Lewis White says:

    If it is only petrol-fuelled vehicles built pre-2006 which are non compliant, there can’t be many of those still on the road. These must be mainly treasured, reliable vehicles owned by one owner from the beginning, or maybe 2 owners. These aren’t gong to be the high mileage drivers who are doing a lot of mileage every year, commuting in to London from Crawley and well beyond.

    As to diesels, anyone who reads the Revd. Awdrey’s Thomas the Tank engine books knows that all diseasels, as the steam engines instinctively knew, are bad.

    I am sure that modern ones also stink as well as the old ones.
    So wrong that a few years back, we were positively encouraged by government to go diesel instead of petrol. How naive and stupid all those highly paid advisers were.

    That man at Volkswagen who falsified or failed to release the real emission tests has made even the most non-believer in conspiracy theories cycnical at best, or a believer that all manufacturers lie about emissions, at worst.

    It isn’t just the chemical pollutant aspects, it is the odour and particulates too .

    We all owe a real debt to the thousands of formerly diesel driving taxi drivers who have gone electric, and hybrid/ electric. I am not aware that they have been rewarded for their change?

    Plus, to bus companies who have gone hydrogen and electric.

    It seems better now, than it did 15 or so years ago. when taxis and buses used to make most central London streets stomach-wrenching and lung-killing and nausea invoking.

    But is that certain areas of inner London alone. Particularly the trendy areas served by underground and a good bus network?

    How does that translate to outer London? The Purley Way, the A 217 in Sutton, and Mitcham town centre, to name but a few pollution nightmares.

    All the parents delivering their young beloveds to school in the morning must be a major source of pollution. Driving across Borough boundaries is pretty normal, as the educational grass is always greener in another borough, especially the more “outer” it is. It is difficult to see a solution as education is now a free market (for those who have choices and that choice-enhancing thing called a higher income )

    I don’t see many middle or upper income people on buses in outer London, although there are plenty on the daily train commute.

    To get people out of their cars, train tickets from out of London into London or commuters need to be much lower.

    What about the South and North Circulars?
    How ever long and boring the journey, many people do these radial routes. There are very few railway lines in South London that do even part of it. Buses take ages to go a shortish dsiatnce as our roads are mainly traffic choked and too narrow, as we are still working with street widths that date from Victorian times — in fact, main Victorian streets were often much wider than the rural lanes they replaced– the same lanes that, further out into the sticks, South of the South Circular road, were not widened very much in the 1920’s suburban boom.

    There is no radial underground in London , which would allow people to move across the spokes of the transport cart wheel that converge at the hub–in central London.
    We really need a radial South London Line, to link Lewisham with Bromley, Croydon, Sutton, and Kingston, and extend the Northern Line out from Morden to Sutton.

    Another thing would be to discourage people from unnecessary driving, not just the owners of old carsm, but everyone.

    The fair thing to do , I think, would be to check the annual mileage at every MOT, and get every motorist to pay per mile. Depending on the pollutants emitted.

    That would hit the driver of excessive mileage.

    Let the polluter pay.

  5. It’s the same old thing, isn’t it?

    It’s not what you say but what you mean that counts.

    Pollution doesn’t kill = I have an old car which belches smoke

    Speed doesn’t kill= I still drive like Stirling Moss despite the 9 points on my licence

    Alcohol doesn’t kill if you’re careful= I have gotten away with being well over the limit

    There is no danger in using a mobile phone, hand held, while driving = like smoking, I like to be seen using my mobile. It makes me look manly and defiant.

    I am ok. I only limp when people are watching= I got my Blue Badge by cheating

    The earth is flat, the moon landings were faked, Donald Trump is a prophet and Nigel Farage is his true apostle.

    Want me to go on?

  6. Ian Kierans says:

    I am not a lover of triple taxation for the same old shit and that is what ULEZ actually is.
    Successive Governments and Councils no longer bother educating or incentivising people to change, they just make it more expensive until few can afford it. Then trouser the cash and piss it up the wall anyway.

    But lets be clear, this Government is doing nothing to reduce pollution in Croydon. This Council is doing nothing to reduces pollution in Croydon. It might as well be Khan and Ulez indirectly doing something to reduce pollution in Croydon.

    where some of the figures being bandied about have come beggers belief but the veracity is decidedly suspect from both ends.
    What is clear is that there is a lot of pollution coming from older cars and it is a high percentage contribuutor to overall localised pollution especially along the main arteries.
    It is a bit like that old pareto principle about 80% of outcomes are derived from 20% of causes.
    Something to consider – a polluting car can chuck out nox at a rate many times higher than a non polluting vehicle and with electric even more so. So on the math anyone wishing to do this can pop along here –
    Look at a 2005 car and compare to a 2020 car emission and just do the sums.
    So I am with Peter on this one as the evidence stacks up but I prefer other alternatives to get to the same place

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