A bullish Sadiq Khan has refused to rule out more clean air schemes being rolled out across London after his court victory to expand ULEZ.
The Mayor of London was given a green light on Friday after the High Court ruled his plans to increase the ULEZ zone to Greater London could go ahead on August 29.
Five councils – all Conservative led – failed in their challenge to stop ULEZ going beyond the North and South Circular roads to cover the whole of the capital.
Off the back of his triumph in court, Mr Khan said he “aims to carry on having polices” to address emissions and said he hopes to hold power “for the next nine years, at least”.
The Labour Mayor’s confident words could be at odds with MPs in his party who fear the reason they failed to win the Conservative seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip in a by-election this month was because of voter anger at the green motoring levy.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has so far declined to say if London’s charge on polluting vehicles should be expanded, saying it was a matter for Mr Khan, who he said had been asked to “reflect on” reducing the impact of the scheme and financially hard-pressed citizens.
Nationally voter support for green policies that charge motorists is believed to be falling during the cost-of-living crisis. Local councils have been barred by the Department for Transport from using any of a £200million active transport fund for new Lower Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs).
In London, those driving non-compliant vehicles (broadly pre-2005 petrol and pre-2015 diesel) face forking out the fee to travel in all the city’s boroughs from the end of the summer.
Asked if he could introduce more measures to combat dirty air in London, MyLondon reports Mr Khan said: “Look, what we know is that, roughly speaking, two thirds of the poison, air pollution comes from transport.
“We also know that the ultra low emission zone in Central London was remarkably successful – it caused a 50 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide, a further 21 percent reduction in Inner London.”
On whether there could be any more schemes introduced similar to the ULEZ, the Mayor replied: “I intend to be Mayor for the next nine years at least, so let’s wait and see.”
The Conservative pick to take on the Mr Khan during next year’s mayoral election, Susan Hall AM, said: “While it is a shame the High Court did not find the ULEZ expansion to be unlawful, there is no denying that Sadiq Khan’s plans will have a devastating impact on families and businesses across the city.
“If I am elected Mayor, I will stop the ULEZ expansion on day one and set up a £50 million pollution hotspots fund to tackle the issue where it is, instead of taxing people where it isn’t.”