Representatives of London’s larger employers along with air pollution experts have welcomed today’s High Court decision to allow Sadiq Khan’s further expansion of the capital’s Ultra-Low Emission Zone on 29 August, saying it will be good for London’s economy and for the health of Londoners.
John Dickie, chief executive of BusinessLDN, said the expansion is “critical for making London’s air cleaner” and that it will not only save lives but also “make the city a more attractive place to live, work and visit”, and Professor Frank Kelly of Imperial College, quoted in the Evening Standard, said, “Today’s verdict means there will be no delays to London taking the action it so desperately needs to tackle toxic air”.
Richard Burge, chief executive of another major business group, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which represents many smaller firms, said the Chamber respected the High Court ruling and stated that “a green and global city like London cannot thrive in poor quality” while vowing to “work closely” with the Mayor on measures to ease the transition, citing its recent poll finding that one third of businesses are concerned the expansion will be bad for their employees.
For the Liberal Democrats, deputy transport committee chair Caroline Pidgeon has reiterated her call for a “more generous” scrappage scheme to help those whose vehicles fall short of ULEZ standards to replace them.
Conservative AM and her party’s mayoral candidate Susan Hall appeared on hard right television channel GB News to claim that “hundreds and hundreds of thousands of Londoners” will, like her, be “hugely disappointed, by the legal ruling, “because they don’t want this”.
Hall said Londoners have “made it clear to Sadiq Khan they don’t want this, but he’s ignoring everybody”. She later told Channel 4 News that “Londoners are telling us loud and clear they do not want this”. However, the most recent poll of Londoners about the issue found that 47 per cent of Londoners support the policy compared with 32 per cent who oppose it.
Making his own television appearances today, the Mayor confirmed that the expansion will go ahead on 29 August and said that from next week there will be “additional support” for Londoners, covering “almost a million families in London who receive child benefit” along with “every small business” and “every charity”. He added that he would continue to listen to concerns and consider what more he might be able to do.
Twitter: Dave Hill and On London. If you value On London and its writers, become a supporter or a paid subscriber to Dave’s Substack. Article updated on 29 July 2023 to include responses by Green mayoral candidate and Assembly group,