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London Mayor open to more boroughs joining ULEZ

During Mayor’s Question Time, Boris Johnson states there is “no reasonâ€? why more boroughs should not join ULEZ if they wish

The London Mayor has said that there is “no reason in principleâ€? why more boroughs should not join the Ultra Low Emission Zone in 2020, which could see the planned regulated area expanded beyond Central London.

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, said

Boris Johnson, the London Mayor, suggested he was open to expanding the ULEZ to include more boroughs

Speaking during Mayor’s Question Time at City Hall yesterday (May 21), Boris Johnson said: “We are going to work with boroughs like Camden and Hackney, and if they want to add themselves onto the Ultra Low Emission Zone, then I personally have no problem with that at all.â€?

Under current plans, which have now been confirmed after a public consultation earlier this year, the ULEZ is set to come into force in 2020 and covers the same Central London area as the existing Congestion Charge Zone (see AirQualityNews.com story).

The ULEZ would operate all day, every day, and mean that motor vehicles not meeting certain limits on exhaust emissions would have to pay a charge, on top of the Congestion Charge, to drive in Central London.

However, there have been repeated calls for the ULEZ to be expanded beyond current parameters so that more boroughs can benefit from the emissions reductions which are expected to come from drivers of higher-polluting vehicles being discouraged from driving in the capital (see AirQualityNews.com story).

The Transport for London (TfL) consultation on the ULEZ plans appeared to rule out any expansion of the zone to include more boroughs, and it has been suggested that the Mayor’s comments at City Hall yesterday mark the first time he has publically said that more boroughs could join the ULEZ.

A TfL report in March on the ULEZ consultation, which closed in January 2015 states: ‘It is not recommended to the Mayor that any change is made to the ULEZ boundary at this time. However, a future extension of the zone – subject to public and stakeholder consultation on a further scheme order revision and Mayoral approval – is not ruled out.’

And, when questioning Mr Johnson about the ULEZ yesterday, Green Party Assembly Member Jenny Jones said she was not previously aware that the Mayor was open to more boroughs joining the ULEZ: “You have been saying you won’t allow the ULEZ to be expanded…â€?

However, responding, the Mayor said: “It is not true to say we are not going to allow more boroughs to opt in if they want. Why not? If they can make the case for it.â€?

Mr Johnson added: “My understanding is that if boroughs want to add themselves onto the Low Emission Zone then there’s no reason in principle why they shouldn’t. They may have to pay for cameras or something… they will have to have a monitoring system or something which might incur some expense.

“That might be something for negotiation with the London boroughs, but there’s no reason in principle why they shouldn’t join.â€?

Motion

Following Mr Johnson’s comments yesterday, the London Assembly unanimously passed a motion which calls on the Mayor to “request that TfL assess whether more boroughs opting in to the Ultra Low Emission Zone by 2020 would bring London into compliance with the European legal limits for nitrogen dioxide concentrations, and to publish that assessmentâ€?.

Commenting after the Question Time meeting, Jenny Jones said: “The Mayor appears to be ignoring the clear statements of his officers in Transport for London who rejected the requests to expand the ULEZ in 2020 beyond the congestion charge zone and turned down the idea of including more boroughs in the scheme. I’m delighted that he is open to other boroughs opting in. He must now work urgently with the boroughs to solve London’s terrible pollution problem.â€?

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