Khan says Ulez consultation ‘not a referendum’ after 60% oppose expansion

City Hall still pressing ahead with plans to expand the low-emissions zone to cover all of London, reports Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter

Close up of an Ultra Low Emission Zone sign
The Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) could be extended beyond the North Circular (credit Transport for London)

Sadiq Khan has hit back at claims Londoners have rejected plans to expand the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (Ulez) and stressed the public consultation was “not a referendum”.

City Hall Conservatives have called for an investigation into the consultation process and for the plans to be scrapped following a report in The Telegraph which revealed as many as 60% of respondents were opposed to plans to expand Ulez beyond the north and south circular roads to cover the whole of London.

But speaking on LBC Radio on Thursday, the London mayor said the consultation is “not a numbers game”. Khan said: “This is not a referendum, it’s a consultation.

“But I’ll be taking on board the substantive points people have been making in relation to how we can address some of the issues, concerns, people may have, because it’s really important that everyone in London gets the benefit of clean air, not just those in inner London and central London who currently benefit from the Ulez.

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“It’s not a numbers game. It’s not counting up how many people are for, how many people are against. It’s not a referendum – that’s what weak leaders do. It’s a consultation. We’ll be taking on board the substantive points people are making and seeing if they can be ameliorated, seeing if they can be addressed.”

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Ulez was expanded up to the North Circular last October, with the move being deemed a success in terms of reducing air pollution. This led to new plans for the low-emissions zone to cover the whole of London with a consultation taking place over the summer.

But a motorists’ lobby group was last month accused of using “dirty tricks” in order to “manipulate the outcome” of TfL’s public consultation. Labour’s Lewisham East MP Janet Daby said she had been made aware of a “nationwide campaign” by drivers’ group Fair Fuel UK which involved 5,000 of its members using a template to submit negative responses to TfL’s consultation. The mayor of London said he was aware of the campaign and that consultation responses, including their origin, will be detailed in the final report.

Speaking on LBC on Thursday, Khan said the final consultation report would be published in “late October or early November”.

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