The Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion is set to go ahead at the end of the month.

The high court recently dismissed the efforts of five London boroughs to halt ULEZ covering the whole of London. Everyone in London will now be able to breath cleaner air.

There have been objections raised about the impact of the charge on those struggling to get by in the cost-of-living crisis. But it is a bit rich of the Tory government, who created the crisis, to now target ULEZ as a cause.

They have also made life more difficult for the Mayor by not funding a more generous scrappage scheme.
Central government has continued to play politics with London’s transport system, ever since Transport for London (TfL) were plunged into financial difficulties, courtesy of Covid.
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Paul Donovan says that the Tory Government is making the ULEZ difficult for the London MayorPaul Donovan says that the Tory Government is making the ULEZ difficult for the London Mayor

What the Mayor could do is look to provide some more imaginative solutions.

How about providing a year or more of free travel on public transport in exchange for scrapping or giving up a non-compliant vehicle? A win win, contributing to the Mayor’s active travel goal of having 80% of journeys being on cycle, on foot or by public transport by 2041.

Or follow French President Emmanuel Macron’s example, by offering low income families electric cars to lease for £88 per month - including maintenance and insurance?

There is a real challenge moving forward if we are to address the climate and biodiversity crises. 

Many London boroughs have made huge strides in active travel: rolling out controlled parking zones, 20mph speed limits, school streets, comprehensive protected cycling networks and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods. 

Hackney and Waltham Forest have been particularly successful. Hackney has reduced car journeys by 37%. These boroughs have shown strong leadership on active travel, seeking to take their local populations with them on the journey of change. They have also had the funding for schemes.

In Redbridge steps have been made. The number of school streets schemes and protected cycle lanes have increased. Controlled parking and 20 mph speed limits are spreading. But funding is often an obstacle in providing more and more quickly.

The efforts of Mayor Sadiq Khan and some leaders of London boroughs is to be applauded. They have shown real leadership, stood up and faced down much opposition to bring in measures that will in the long term ensure we all live healthier, more sustainable lives.