ULEZ etc

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) extension, ‘Mini Holland’ and road humps.

 The Mayor of London has proposed extending the existing Central London ULEZ into a much larger ULEZ which extends up to the A406 North Circular Road.  Any vehicles entering the ULEZ not meeting the ULEZ standards will face a charge of £12.50 or a fine of £130.  This means that anyone crossing the A406 North Circular Road to visit Whipps Cross Hospital, shop, visit friends or relatives will have to pay £12.50 charge if their vehicle does not meet the emission standards.  This is planned to start in 2010.

 The 2014 study by King’s College London showed that this would only deliver a marginal improvement in air quality.  It is a very expensive option.  It will require a new infrastructure which would cost approaching £1 billion to enforce the new zone.  This would include cameras around its 76km/48mile perimeter.  This £1 billion could be better spent on upgrading London buses and other public sector vehicles to electricity or putting in place a scrappage scheme to help the poor and vulnerable replace their vehicles with newer ones.  A scheme for converting taxis to LPG would be effective, as would extending the local initiative of a the boiler scrappage scheme.  According to TFL, 80%+ of particulate emissions come from brakes and tyres and not from exhausts.

 Our Council would like the ULEZ to cover the whole borough and not stop at the A406 North Circular Road, but this is not yet agreed.  If this scheme goes ahead, as there is no residents exemption period, the full charges will apply immediately.  This means that anyone outside Highams Park and Chingford who wishes to visit a resident of Highams Park, or our local shops, will have to pay the charge (£12.50) if their vehicle does not meet the ULEZ standard.  This would effect friends, relatives and carers and could cause further isolation of elderly and others.  The charge for large commercial vehicles can be up to £300 per day.  This charge would be passed on to the customer (but with VAT and possibly an administration cost added).  This is not really a ‘charge’ at all, it should be described as a ‘Tax’ because you get nothing for your money.

 Cllr Clyde Loakes said “With so much evidence now stacking up on the implications of poor air quality on the health of our residents, we know we need to act”.  It is a pity that he did not hold this view when ‘Mini-Holland’ was proposed in Walthamstow.  The closing of so many roads to vehicular traffic has resulted in much longer journey times and hence increased pollution.  The cramming of traffic onto main roads, such as Hoe St, has resulted in congestion with traffic stationary for longer and again longer journey times and more pollution. Richmond Council has managed to implement ‘Mini Holland’ without significantly affecting traffic.

 Imperial College, has proved that the use of road humps increases pollution and yet our Council has installed well over 100 road humps in Highams Park, against the wishes of the local residents.