The Conservative London Mayor candidate has pledged to stop the “tragic” expansion of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to outer London if he is elected as mayor in 2020.

Shaun Bailey promised to halt the expansion of the ULEZ to the North and South Circular Roads in October 2021, as Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan has proposed.

In April the zone will be introduced in central London, meaning anyone driving within it will have to meet certain emissions standards or be forced to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

Speaking about the scheme – which aims to reduce air pollution – Mr Bailey said that while the ULEZ will work in central London, extending it to the outer boroughs means it will “hit the poorest people”.

He said: “I don’t think the current mayor understands the impact of it on the poorest people.

“Those people using cars in outer London need them, they use them because they don’t have a choice and we need to get rid of the ULEZ in outer London.”

People who will particularly feel the impact of the ULEZ are residents in Chingford, who would have to drive through the emissions zone to get to their local hospital, Whipps Cross, in Leytonstone.

Mr Bailey said he visited people in the hospital who would be faced with the charge and said it really “rammed home” the impact expanding the ULEZ would have on people.

He said: “This is about people in hospital, people paying to visit elderly relatives, and people having to cross the north and south circular roads to take their children to school.”

But Mr Bailey, who once had to cross the north circular road with his family to go the supermarket and get to school himself, added: “I know from bitter personal experience what this ULEZ extension is going to do to people.

“The ULEZ could cost upwards of £780 million but that is a really tragic way of using the money.

“It could be used in a better way, such as improving the bus fleet.”

As well as stopping the expansion of the ULEZ, Mr Bailey’s priorities as mayor would include reducing violent crime by increasing police numbers and getting more people from ethnic minorities into the force.

He said: “We need to get more people from those communities more deeply involved in the police.

“We have had a mayor who has not changed the police and had little or no leadership around crime.”

Mr Bailey also said a priority for him as mayor would be to reduce homelessness by using brownfield sites to help build more homes.

He said: “Unless we supply enough homes of all types then we are in trouble. There are not enough homes being built and that is not just opinion, that is fact.”

Mr Bailey, who was born and raised in Ladbroke Grove and now lives in Romford, was himself homeless after leaving university, and was sofa-surfing until he went to live with his aunt for three years.

But the former youth worker said experiences like being homeless and struggling to afford rent have given him the life experience many other politicians have never had.

He said: “I don’t even consider myself a politician. I didn’t wake up one morning and think ‘I want to be the Mayor of London’.

“I wanted to be someone who got things done in the capital.

“My family are here, my children are here, and I was born and raised in London.

“I am willing to have conversations other politicians aren’t and I truly believe in working with communities and helping the poorest.”