Starmer Abandons Nationwide Clean Air Zone Pledge

Sir Keir Starmer has backtracked on Labour’s pledge to introduce clean air zones across the UK, reports say, following the party’s failure to win the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-elections .

A statement confirming support for the zones is said to have been dropped from the party platform, despite London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledging to pursue plans to expand the capital’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (Ulez).

The Ulez charges drivers money based on their vehicle’s emissions, with protests taking place across the city against the controversial program.

Clean air zones were among Labour’s transport commitments in a draft 86-page policy manual that was debated last month at the party’s National Policy Forum (NPF).

“Labour supports the principle of clean air zones and recognizes the enormous damage to human health caused by air pollution and the damage to our climate caused by carbon emissions from polluting vehicles,” the project said. original document.

People entering the Ultra Low Emission Zone with vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are charged £12.50 a day

“However, they must be put in place carefully, taking into account the impacts on small businesses and low-wage workers, and must be accompanied by a just transition plan to allow people to switch to low-emission vehicles. at an affordable price. »

The Telegraph reports that the paragraph was deleted during the forum, with a Labor source confirming to the newspaper that the policy had been officially dropped.

The forum took place just days after Labor failed to win a by-election due to voter backlash against Ulez, who has divided Londoners since his introduction in April 2019.

Several vehicles had their tires slashed in Bromley on Saturday during an anti-Ulez protest as protesters held up signs reading “Khant pays, won’t pay”.

Protests have taken place across London in a bid to cancel the controversial program

The expansion is due to come into force at the end of August and will force city dwellers to pay £12.50 a day to travel to Greater London if their cars fail to meet environmental standards.

Sir Keir had previously voiced his support for the scheme but turned on the police following the Uxbridge result.

Labor’s ill-fated by-election candidate Danny Beales told the NPF that Ulex had ‘cut us to the knees’ while Sir Keir said the party had to ‘deal with’ the electoral damage.

“In an election, politics matters,” he said. “And we are doing something very wrong if the policies proposed by the Labor Party end up on every Tory leaflet. »

Besides London, Clean Air Zones already exist in a number of Labor-run cities, including Birmingham, Newcastle, Bristol and Bradford.

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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.