Julie Marson, MP for Hertford and Stortford, has today rebuked Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor of London for Environment and Energy, on claims about the proposed expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ).
The zone is set to expand across all London boroughs from 29th August 2023.
Ms Marson wrote a letter to Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, in April 2023 to oppose the expansion of the scheme, noting the impact this will have on her constituents who drive to London. In this, she described the scheme as “a thinly veiled attempt to take more money from working people” and added that “London’s air quality problem is in Central London. It is not in the outskirts of London, and it is certainly not in Hertford and Stortford.”
In reply, Ms Marson received a letter from the Mayor’s deputy, claiming that “nine in ten cars seen driving in outer London on an average day meet the [ULEZ] standards” among other points.
The MP has hit back at some of these claims. In her letter, Ms Marson referred to an independent report that concluded that the scheme’s expansion is “modelled to result in negligible reductions in annual mean PM2.5 concentrations” and that NO2 levels are modelled to go from 20.2 μg/m3 to 19.9 μg/m3 once ULEZ has been expanded, calling this “a tiny reduction.” Ms Marson said that Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion “will hardly” improve air-quality in outer London and that claiming otherwise is “disingenuous”.
Ms Marson also questioned how representative the Mayor’s data around the number of cars that currently meet ULEZ standards was, noting that a BBC information question showed that one in six cars registered in outer London did not meet ULEZ standards last year. She also highlighted how key workers, such as NHS staff, working night shifts where they drive to work on one day and leave the next could pay a double charge of £25 for this.
Commenting on her latest actions on this matter, Ms Marson said:
“The Mayor of London must cancel the planned expansion of ULEZ. An independent report has shown that the expansion will hardly improve air quality in outer London. This is just an attempt by the Mayor to take more money from people like Hertford and Stortford residents.
“I have police officers, healthcare professionals and others who live in my constituency and drive to London for work. This expansion is going to impact them financially at a time when so many are feeling the pinch. It is painful and pointless.
“I look forward to receiving a response from the Mayor’s office where they are more straight-talking with my constituents and treat them with the respect they deserve.”