Surrey councillors have confirmed written communications are ongoing with Transport for London over the impact of the ULEZ expansion. Surrey County Councillor Robert Evans (Labour, Stanwell and Stanwell Moor) asked cabinet members at a full council meeting on Tuesday (March 21) to confirm that the mitigations the council was calling for would be followed up with the chancellor.
He claimed previous attempts to extend the Transport for London (TfL) Oyster card zone 6 in several Surrey boroughs had “floundered” because central government would not underwrite potential losses to the train companies.
Image: Ultra Low Emission Zone, Stonebridge Park. Credit: Will Durrant/LDRS
Cllr Evans called on Surrey’s cabinet to “work with TfL and the Mayor of London to make sure that Surrey residents get the health benefits of this, but don’t get negative impacts if ULEZ comes into operation.”
The zone, which sees drivers of older, more polluting cars charged £12.50 per day to enter it, is due to expand to cover all of greater London from August.
The ULEZ currently covers central London and its expansion will see it border several Surrey districts and boroughs including Spelthorne, Elmbridge and Epsom.
In response to TfL’s plans to extend the zone, Elmbridge councillors previously called for the Oyster Card Zone 6 to be expanded further, highlighting the difference between public transport in London and in Surrey.
Cllr Evans said schemes in Bristol, Coventry, Birmingham and elsewhere had seen the government “pick up the bill for a scrappage scheme”.
The council’s cabinet member for transport, infrastructure and growth, Cllr Matt Furniss, (Conservative, Shalford) confirmed face-to-face meetings had been requested with TfL, but said he was “disappointed to say it only took the threat of legal action to get transport London to respond.” He said the council did “ask the government regularly for additional funding” and would be talking to them about the impact of the planned extension.
Meeting documents showed a virtual meeting took place between with TfL, county council officers and Elmbridge Borough Council officers on February 21.
A written response was received from TfL as a follow up to the meeting on March 7, which was being looked at and a response drafted from the council. The documents said: “The council is committed to delivering a greener future, but it must be done in a practical and sustainable way. …..The impact of an expanded ULEZ on many Surrey residents and businesses will be significant, and we will not stand by and watch that happen with no mitigation offered.”
During the meeting, Cllr Evans also reminded the scheme had been brought about by Boris Johnson, during his time as Mayor of London. Former Prime Minister Mr Johnson was London Mayor between 2008 and 2016, and announced the introduction of the world’s first ULEZ in London in 2015. It was introduced from April 2019.
A written response was received from TfL as a follow up to the meeting on March 7, which was being looked at and a response drafted from the council.
Cllr Buddhi Weerasinghe (Conservative, Lower Sunbury and Halliford) said he was supporting a campaign by residents to get Ashford and Sunbury stations, among others in Spelthorne, added to Zone 6. He also highlighted the needs of the expanding Shepperton Studios that he said had been put in a letter to government regarding its work force needing to travel to and from the studios by train.