ULEZ expansion: Havering Council response
Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council, writes:
We are very disappointed to hear the London Mayor’s decision to go ahead with the expansion of ULEZ into Havering.
This will penalise the residents of this borough as outlined in our consultation submission and request the Mayor reconsider implementation into the outer London boroughs due to their unique circumstances.
At the very least this should have been delayed due to the huge impact the cost of living crisis will play on the lives of our residents, with limited alternative transport options.
We do understand the negative impact of poor air quality on the lives of local residents and others, but pollution levels in inner central London remain much higher than in outer London boroughs.
In fact, the GLA recognise that Havering is known to have good air quality, apart from a handful of hotspots.
Furthermore, Havering is already taking action to improve our air quality further with our Air Quality Action Plan and Climate Change Action Plan. Already our Net CO2 emissions are substantially down.
We recognise our views have been listened to in regard to the new scrappage scheme. However, with the high cost of living and the large jump in prices in the second-hand car market, this will be yet another pressure on hard-working families who are already struggling at the worst possible time.
Indeed, even many middle-income earning residents within Havering are just as affected by this change and may not be able to afford the change to electric and or other ULEZ-compliant vehicles.
We should also not underestimate the impact this will have on key workers travelling in from outside London, including placing our vulnerable residents at risk due to a diminished workforce. They may be put off from choosing Havering because of the extra costs they’ll have to pay.
This also has the potential to damage Havering as an authority attracting inward investment and a destination for businesses to locate to. The knock-on effect is the lack of job opportunities that they would bring.
Furthermore, the public transport infrastructure in the borough is inadequate and not sufficient to encourage people to move away from cars. We need to see greater investment in Havering’s infrastructure before residents are forced to find alternative solutions that do not currently exist.
The plans to extend the Harold Wood – Harold Hill bus route to Upminster is a welcome start, but falls well short of what is needed in Havering to make the borough better connected and this is particularly true in the south of the borough where businesses have been complaining to us that they can attract workers to their company, but cannot always get them there because of the lack of transport, particularly in light of the doubt over a new Beam Park Station.
Indeed, we know that better public transport would go a long way to improve further the air quality in outer London than the ULEZ charge seeks to achieve.
We will continue to strongly lobby as there should be more thinking about the impact this will have on residents, businesses, visitors as well as public services.
We will also continue to push for the improvements we need to lessen the impact on those who will be most disadvantaged.