Mayor Sadiq Khan: Defending Policies Amid Anti-Motorist Claims

Mayor Sadiq Khan Defending Policies Amid Anti-Motorist Claims
credit: euronews

London (Parliament News) – Mayor Sadiq Khan defends against “anti-motorist” claims, ruling out further Ultra-low emission zone changes, emphasizing safety, and promoting alternative travel options in London.

Why Rule Out Further Changes to Ultra-Low Emission Zone?

Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged he is not an “anti-motorist”, as he ruled out driving any further changes to the Ultra-low emission zone. In his first Mayor’s Question Time session since succeeding re-election this month, Mr Khan was challenged on the subject by several London Assembly members. Alessandro Georgiou, a newly-elected Tory member, stated: “There has been a war on the motorist – whether it be by the Ulez expansion, low traffic neighbourhood or 20mph zones.”

The mayor extended the Ulez to cover all of Greater London in August 2023. Mr Georgiou questioned the Labour mayor: “Do you understand that in outer London, we do need our cars for travel? “The disabled need their cars, and parents on the school run need their cars because not everyone lives within or under a mile of a primary or secondary school. Do you understand that the elderly also need their cars?”

He emphasised that the public transport system is much more lacking in the suburbs than in the inner city. Mr Khan said: “I’m well aware that the Conservatives attempted to portray me during the [mayoral election] movement as being anti-motorist – and that was a theory and a thesis rejected by Londoners on May 2.

“I’m not anti-motorist. I am in favour of cars driving where they can at 20mph rather than 30mph. Why? Because you’re five times more likely to kill somebody and cause them serious injury if you’re driving at 30mph rather than 20mph.”

How Does Khan Balance Safety and Convenience?

He said that he was also in favour of enhancing safety for cyclists and in bringing about “clean air”. But I also acknowledge that there are parts of London where public transport is less good,” he said.

What Alternatives to Cars Does Khan Advocate?

The mayor pointed to his dreams to expand the Superloop network of express bus services as one sample of his work to make it easier for people not to travel by car. Mr Khan revealed, however: “Everyone often has a good reason to use their cars. We’ve got to realise that people are going to carry on using automobiles because they’re important. Whether it’s for shopping, whether it’s because you’re older, whether it’s because of childcare issues, or whatever.

“So nobody is stating ban the car, or prohibiting the use of the car’. It’s about acknowledging we’ve got to be inspiring others to use active travel, to walk and cycle as well, and to give people alternatives.”

He stated that when the Tories charge him of being anti-motorist, “the results are, Londoners reject that and vote for me in record numbers”. He later said: “I drive. The notion that people who drive are the boogeyman, is not coming from me.”

What’s Khan’s Stance on Pay-Per-Mile Charging?

The mayor engaged in his re-election manifesto “to keeping the London-wide Ulez standards the same over the next four years,” adding that he also rules out “a move to any form of pay-per-mile smart street user charging system”.

Mr Khan was also contested by his Tory mayoral opponent, Susan Hall – newly re-elected as an assembly member – on whether he would be revising his official transport strategy to glorify his promise not to bring in pay-per-mile.

The mayor stated this would be “a pointless distraction” because he had already been detailed in his manifesto about his intentions.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.