'He's right': Sir Keir backs Sadiq on Ulez expansion

23 January 2023, 16:48 | Updated: 23 January 2023, 18:18

Sir Keir Starmer has backed the expansion of London's Ulez
Sir Keir Starmer has backed the expansion of London's Ulez. Picture: Alamy

By Henry Riley

Sir Keir Starmer today threw his support behind the London Mayor’s plan to expand the Ulez (Ultra Low Emission Zone) charge London-wide.

The Labour leader spoke to LBC during a visit to Octopus Energy in Slough – an area with a vast number of commuters who drive into London. Sir Keir said “the Mayor has made very clear why he is putting in place and extending the scheme as it is… and he’s right about that”.

Sir Keir, who is also an inner London MP representing Holborn & St Pancras, did acknowledge that Sadiq Khan’s decision was challenging, saying “of course it’s difficult, but he [Khan] has to take those measures.”

Read more: London ULEZ zone expands to cover ENTIRE capital from next year, Sadiq Khan announces

The Mayor of London has faced a backlash for his plans to expand the Ulez charge from the 29th August to cover the whole of London, including from the campaign group Fair Fuel UK.

The change in the law would mean that drivers who fail to meet certain emission standards could face a daily charge of £12.50.

When pressed, Sir Keir, admitted he did support the Ulez charge, despite the challenging backdrop of the cost of living crisis.

The Labour leader's intervention comes as a report commissioned by Transport for London estimates that 30,000 non-compliant vans currently use the Ulez expansion area each day.

Autotrader magazine estimate that a tradesperson entering the zone in an older van every working day will rack up more than £3,000 a year in charges.

A spokesman for Mr Khan said: "The mayor has been clear that the decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was one of the hardest he's had to make, but with around 4,000 Londoners still dying from toxic air it was a necessary one.

Commenting on Sir Keir's remarks Paul Scully, the Minister for London, said "rather than blinding and tribally supporting his Labour Mayor, Keir Starmer needs to speak to people in Outer London who don't quality for the scrappage scheme, don't have the extensive choice of buses and tubes that his own Inner London constituents enjoy and therefore remain dependent on their cars".

Scully, who is also the Conservative MP for Sutton and Cheam, added: "Ulez expansion will have a negligible effect on air quality according to the Mayor's own report, whilst coming at as massive cost for those who can least afford it".