Sadiq Khan faces Labour pressure over ULEZ as he is sent barrage of letters

Sadiq Khan refuses to pause ULEZ rollout despite legal challenge

Sadiq Khan is facing pressure from his own side over the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) expansion.

The London Mayor has been sent a series of letters by Labour politicians in the last week urging him to make the scrappage scheme more generous.

They stressed their backing for Mr Khan’s efforts to improve air quality and hit out at the Government for not providing more support.

But they ultimately called on the London Mayor to widen the scrappage scheme. 

In a letter to Mr Khan yesterday, Grace Williams, the leader of Labour-run Waltham Forest Council, asked for more help for small businesses, parents and carers.

She also called for the grace period for drivers who have booked a retrofit for their vehicles to be reviewed.

Meanwhile, Labour MPs Barry Gardiner, Ellie Reeves, Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Abena Oppong-Asare – who all represent London constituencies – penned separate letters to the London Mayor last Friday.

Brent North MP Mr Gardiner called on Mr Khan to “consider revising the scrappage scheme to make it even easier for the minority of families and small businesses whose vehicles are affected to switch to a cleaner, newer vehicle”.

He added: “They want to do the right thing; but they need just a little more help.”

Ms Reeves, who represents Lewisham West and Penge, said she was “concerned” some constituents will be “unduly prohibited from using their cars”.

She wrote: “This includes pensioners with little disposable income who need their cars to do a shop or see friends and family, through to parents receiving child benefit who need support to make the switch for their family car. Care workers and small businesses are affected too.”

Ms Reeves urged Mr Khan to widen the scrappage scheme “so that those who will be unfairly hit by the ULEZ can have a fair chance to do the right thing”.

Dr Allin-Khan said “many” constituents had contacted her as they do not meet the criteria for the scrappage scheme.

The Tooting MP added: “I urge you to consider reviewing the scrappage scheme and widening support for families, charities, and small businesses.”

Meanwhile, Ms Oppong-Asare also called for a review of the scrappage scheme.

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The Erith and Thamesmead MP said: “One in 10 of my constituents are small employers or sole traders, who are understandably very concerned about the financial stress this could have on their businesses, particularly during the cost of living crisis.”

The interventions come as Mr Khan has faced widespread opposition to his plan to expand the ULEZ to cover the entirety of outer London in a bid to improve air quality.

If it goes ahead, the expansion will see drivers in outer London pay a £12.50 daily fee from August 29 if their vehicles do not meet required emissions standards.

The scrappage scheme is open to Londoners on certain low-income or disability benefits.

Those eligible can get up to £2,000 for scrapping a car, £1,000 for a motorcycle and £5,000 to scrap or retrofit a wheelchair.

It is also open to sole traders, micro businesses or charities with a registered address in London to scrap or retrofit a van or minibus that does not meet the required standard. 

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor is doing all he can to support Londoners through the cost of living crisis but, with lives on the line and the health of children at risk due to London’s toxic air, he is clear that expanding the clean air zone was a difficult decision but a necessary one.

“The latest data from Transport for London shows 90 percent of cars driving in outer London already meet ULEZ standards and the Mayor expects the number of compliant vehicles to go up even more over the coming months.

“For drivers of the few non-compliant vehicles, Sadiq has launched the biggest scrappage scheme ever – £110million – to help families on lower incomes, small businesses, charities, sole traders and disabled Londoners replace their vehicle with a less polluting one or move to a cleaner, more active mode of transport.

“The scheme is kept under constant review to ensure its effectiveness and the Mayor is looking at what extra support could be provided.

“He also continues to call on the Government to support the switch to cleaner vehicles through funding a targeted national scrappage scheme or providing additional funding to London, as it has done for other cities across the country.”

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