Croydon councillors throw support behind ULEZ rollout
Croydon councillors threw their support behind the rollout of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) into the borough which will see some drivers charged £12.50 a day when they use their cars.
The authority’s Conservative Group put forward a motion to formally call on the Mayor of London to scrap the expansion of the zone to the whole of London which will apply to the most polluting vehicles.
The motion was not backed by the council with councillors opposing it winning by one vote.
Labour was joined by the two Green councillors and one Lib Dem in voting against the motion bringing it to a stalemate at 34 votes each way.
The council’s ceremonial mayor, and chair of the meeting, Councillor Alisa Flemming used her casting vote meaning the motion failed.
However, as executive mayor of the council, Jason Perry has the final call on decisions and can go ahead and object to the zone.
At the meeting, Mayor Perry confirmed he would not sign an agreement with TfL for the body to put cameras and signs for the scheme on the council’s roads.
He said: “The ULEZ expansion will be a hammer blow to businesses and residents in Croydon particularly affecting those that can afford it least.
“Unless the Mayor of London scraps his ULEZ extension there is a risk that people with cars that fall short of the ULEZ standards will be unable to get around, unable to pay the extortionate £12.50 a day, that is deeply unfair.”
Labour councillor Amy Foster was the first to oppose the motion.
She said the expansion was to protect Londoners from chronic health conditions, including asthma, from air pollution.
She said: “Change is hard and these conversations need to be approached with care and respect not provocative political motions. If not this then what, and if not now then when.”
Leader of the Labour group Councillor Stuart King said “toxic air is a killer” which disproportionately affects the sick, elderly and young.
He said: “Every year 200 of the 4,000 Londoners that die prematurely as a result of toxic air are in our borough.
“The victims of toxic air live and die in Selsdon and in Sanderstead as much as they do in Streatham and Southwark.
“Surely no one is disputing that toxic air is real and it needs to be addressed.
“Whether you like it or not ULEZ has been a success it has reduced pollution levels in central London, the pollution in outer London is not reducing at the same rapid speed as it is in Central London.
“We do recognise that some do have understandable concerns about ULEZ expansion but we know that 85per cent of vehicles in outer London are already compliant so almost nine out of 10 of our residents won’t pay any more than they currently do to get in their cars and drive.”
This week, TfL bosses said they were confident they had the necessary powers to implement the expansion across the capital.
At a meeting on Wednesday (February 1) TfL’s chief customer and strategy officer Alex Williams said: “My view is this will be resolved. The reality is that we need those agreements with 24 boroughs.
“We have those agreements with 16 of them at the moment. Given that we only issued these Section 8 packs in December, that’s quite good progress.”