With just one day to go before the end of the consultation period, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council agreed on 28th July a response to Transport for London’s (TFL’s) proposed plan to extend the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to all London boroughs, including neighbouring Kingston and Sutton. See Epsom and Ewell Times report 17th June on ULEZ extension.
ULEZ is a charge, currently £12.50 a day, imposed on the most polluting vehicles that enter the zone. Most petrol cars manufactured after January 2006, most diesel cars manufactured after September 2016 and all electric cars are exempt from the ULEZ charge.
In a special motion to the Council meeting on 28th July, Councillor Phil Neale (RA, Cuddington Ward) proposed a response to the consultation arguing for a significant increase in the number of exempt routes and an extension of any scrappage scheme to include Epsom and Ewell. The motion also called for an extension of the consultation period to allow more careful analysis of the cause and effect to the welfare and economy of the boroughs neighbouring London. “We support the move to reduce the high level of air pollution caused by congestion and high-emission vehicles,” he said. “However, in this time of economic pressure, the scheme needs to consider the economic, social and mental health needs of all communities affected by the scheme, not just London boroughs. It is going to hit lower income families more. I’m not asking for ULEZ to be dropped, I’m asking for TFL to consider what will happen in the boroughs surrounding London.”
“There seems to be no thought by TFL whatsoever of the impact this will have on the borough and our residents” said Cllr. John Beckett (RA, Auriol Ward, Chair of the Environment and Safe Communities Committee). “I welcome the travel corridors that have been put in, but I do have to question why I can drive 98% of the way to the new hospital site, but the road I need to use to get into the hospital site is in the proposed ULEZ.”
“If we get public transport sorted, that would be the time to get people moving out of their cars” said Cllr. Neil Dallen (RA, Town Ward, Chair of the Strategy and Resource Committee).
Cllr Kate Chinn (Labour, Court Ward) provided the solitary voice opposing the motion. “It is only the oldest and most polluting vehicles that apply – these need to be taken off the roads…let’s give people help to do that and let’s look after this world for ourselves and the people who come after us.”
The motion was passed by a considerable majority. Exact voting figures were not announced by the Mayor who chaired the meeting.