London (Parliament Politic Magazine) – Labour Member of Parliament, Jon Cruddas, has once again expressed his strong objection to the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), characterising it as being “unacceptable.” Representing the Dagenham and Rainham constituency, Cruddas criticized the decision to extend the ULEZ to the outer boroughs of London.
He asserted that the timing of this expansion should have been postponed until the nation had navigated through the challenges of the cost-of-living crisis. His stance is grounded in the assertion that the existing public transportation infrastructure is presently inadequate to effectively uphold this policy.
Ultra-Low Emission Zone to Be Implemented
On August 29, a London city-wide Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is scheduled to be implemented. Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London from the Labour party, asserts that this measure is imperative to combat air pollution and address the challenges of climate change.
Mr. Cruddas, set to retire during the upcoming general election, acknowledged the urgent necessity of enhancing air quality. However, he contends that the expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will negatively impact individuals from working backgrounds.
He emphasized his impartial stance on the matter and expressed approval for broadening the vehicle scrappage scheme to encompass drivers not receiving means-tested benefits.
According to Mr. Cruddas, “Fundamentally, this decision should have been postponed until after we’ve overcome the challenges posed by the high cost of living. Dagenham and Rainham house a significant number of low-income laborers who rely on their private vehicles.”
He further stated, “The prevailing public transportation infrastructure lacks the capacity to uphold this policy. In regions like ours, the absence of a Superloop bus alternative and minimal investment suggests that such improvements aren’t imminent.” He further revealed:
“Telling people to buy a new vehicle, forcing them to give up their jobs, potentially isolating elderly and vulnerable people who rely on family visits is beyond the pale.”
Labor Leader Talks About Expansion of Zone
Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, advised Mr. Khan to take a moment for introspection regarding the expansion of the zone. This advice came after Mr. Khan attributed the Conservatives’ victory in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last month to the expanded zone.
Earlier this month, when announcing an extension of the scrappage scheme, Mr. Khan expressed, “I’ve consistently maintained that the decision to expand the ULEZ across the entirety of London was a challenging one, and not one I made lightly. However, it’s a decision I am steadfastly committed to implementing. I am resolute in not stepping back, delaying, or diluting crucial environmentally friendly policies like the ULEZ.
These policies not only hold the potential to save lives and safeguard the respiratory health of children by purifying our polluted air, but also contribute to our battle against the climate crisis.”
The proposed enlargement of the ULEZ, which presently covers inner London, has drawn criticism from local authorities in certain outer London boroughs controlled by the Conservative Party. These areas often have a higher tendency for car usage.
Labour Party MPs representing constituencies in outer London have now joined in expressing concerns regarding the expansion of the ULEZ. Their apprehensions stem from worries that such an expansion could negatively affect the livelihood of working individuals and potentially harm the local economy.
Four Senior London Labour MPs Slam Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ Expansion
Members of the Labour Party in the UK Parliament, namely Seema Malhotra, Jon Cruddas, Siobhain McDonagh, and Abena Oppong-Asare, have expressed significant reservations about the proposed expansion of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), as shared during their discussions with LBC.
The Mayor of London, Mr. Khan, aims to extend the ULEZ to encompass the entire city of London, with the intention of addressing the issue of poor air quality. This extension would require drivers of vehicles that do not meet emissions standards to pay a fee of £12.50 per day to utilize their cars, or else face a penalty of £160.
The worries they had were reiterated by Siobhain McDonagh, the veteran Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden, who likewise voiced her dissent toward the proposal. A representative for the Mayor of London revealed: “The air quality data employed by City Hall is highly reliable and stems from the most precise scientific research conducted by internationally acclaimed experts at Imperial College London, concerning the human toll of air pollution.”