I appreciate many residents will be extremely frustrated as Mayor Khan’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion comes into force today.
I have been totally opposed to this expansion since it was announced. It is unacceptable that Hertsmere residents, who do not live in London, should pay extra to travel towards London. Most vehicles will be charged £12.50, while it will cost heavier vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches £100.
The expansion will affect residents travelling into London from Bushey Heath towards Stanmore, and at the A41 Elstree Hill Roundabout and A1 Stirling Corner Roundabout, to name some examples. I have spoken to many of my constituents about how these extra charges will put additional financial strain on their families during what is already a difficult period. This is particularly true of constituents who commute into London for work or drive to vital appointments at hospitals such as The Royal Free, which falls within the expanded zone.
While I appreciate the need for cleaner air in London and recognise that the Government has made clear to the Mayor that he needs to put Transport for London (TfL) on a financially sustainable footing, neither of these objectives require expansion of the ULEZ to the scale that has been implemented.
The pandemic undoubtedly had an impact on TfL’s finances but ultimately the difficulty it faces stems from the pre-existing poor condition of their finances, as a result of decisions taken since 2016 by the Mayor. The monetary burden that these plans will place on people is not an acceptable cost.
It is deeply frustrating that Sadiq Khan has not listened to my objections, nor those of Conservative councillors at Hertsmere Borough Council and, most importantly, he has not listened to the objections of many residents.
Ultimately, at a time when the Government is doing everything it can to support people with the cost of living, it is unjustifiable for the Mayor to implement another tax on hardworking families.