At last night’s Croydon Council meeting, I was able to speak against Mayor Khan’s needless expansion of the ULEZ to the Greater London border - an policy that will hurt so many of my Coulsdon residents and those travelling in over the Surrey border.
The evidence is clear - expanding the ULEZ will hurt businesses in our district centres; it will make life harder and more expensive for our residents; and it doesn’t even improve air quality - so why is the Mayor intent on pushing ahead with it?
The full text of my speech is below.
Speech opposing Labour's unnecessary ULEZ expansion
“I have represented Coulsdon for over 8 years. It is right on the Greater London border.
Recently Cllr Shortland and I visited St Peter’s Church in Woodmansterne, a short stroll over that border. Many of our residents were there. The Bishop of Croydon was there.
Under Mayor Khan’s plan to expand the ULEZ, to return home we’d have had to pay £12.50.
How can that be right?
Khan says ULEZ is about improving air quality.
Except it doesn’t.
The ULEZ expansion won’t help climate change.
The ULEZ expansion won’t reduce pollution.
I wish it did.
If it did then perhaps, perhaps, the £12.50 daily charge would be worthwhile.
But how can it be?
£12.50 a day. Nearly £90 a week. That’s a whopping £4,000 extra per year that households across Croydon and across the Surrey border could be forced to pay when already struggling with the cost of living – and it doesn’t improve air quality.
It’s not the wealthy that will be impacted. If you can afford it, then you can buy a compliant car or simply pay the charge.
Local resident Una has said ‘My husband and I are in our 80s. I have a blue badge, we are living on our pensions, can't afford a new car. How do we shop, visit our grand children or friends?’
Another local, Latanya says ‘We have a disabled child but don’t qualify for any exemptions so we’ll need to pay every day to do school runs’.
And Jonny says ‘Every tradesman that has to come into the ULEZ will have to charge extra, pushing the cost onto the customer. Shoppers outside won’t be travelling to high streets like Coulsdon, so local businesses will suffer.’
They’re absolutely right. And they’re not alone. The formal consultation response revealed:
• Outer London businesses - 90% opposed.
• Outer London employees - 80% opposed.
• Visitors to London - 75% opposed.
It is not often that the three parties agree - this is clearly the wrong policy even if it’s in pursuit of the right objective.
If you believe in data and evidence-based policy, you must vote for our motion this evening.
Expanding the ULEZ
…will hurt our district centres.
…make life harder for our residents.
…and it doesn’t improve air quality.
I support the motion, and Mayor Perry’s robust actions to defend local people - I urge others in the Chamber to do the same.”
Sadly the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green Councillors all voted against our motion. It's clear that in Croydon there's only one party that is standing up for those struggling with the cost of living - and it's the Conservatives.