Residents on Essex border ‘will pay ULEZ without car’ as council to …
Residents of a borough on the Essex border have been warned of council “price hikes”, more potholes and a hit to services provided by local authorities after Sadiq Khan expands the city’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) on August 29. It has been reported that all of the capital’s boroughs will have to fork out around £240,000 to pay the £12.50 daily fee for their non-compliant fleets of vehicles which would in turn, it is claimed, mean the thinning of funding elsewhere.
Conservative Havering Council councillor David Taylor told MyLondon: “Councils operate a lot of vehicles from passenger transport to street sweeping machines and parks maintenance vans. Only passenger transport is exempt. The data shows Havering Council will be liable for around £240,000 of fines a year, MyLondon reports.
“They made no provision for this in this budget and it will also mean some vehicles have to be disposed of earlier than planned for. If this £240k is replicated in all London Boroughs new to ULEZ, I come to a figure of around £4m a year.
“That’s £4m of council tax money going into TfL to pay ULEZ fines. Regardless of whether your car is compliant or not, you will be paying for ULEZ through your council tax. Given that council’s have already increased council taxes by the maximum, this will mean £240k a year that Havering can’t spend on local services. Havering Council recently doubled the price of resident parking permits, in order to raise an extra £250k in revenue.
“Whilst at the same time cutting millions from road maintenance just to balance the budget. This not only means that our roads will be in an even worse state, it also means thousands of residents will be hit with yet another price hike when money is tight. Having to pay TfL £240k a year in ULEZ fines, to run the council’s fleet, is going to stretch Havering even further and result in yet more punitive price hikes.
"The council delivers vital services with its fleet, such as street cleaning and property maintenance. Khan’s ULEZ will hamper the council’s ability to provide these. ULEZ isn’t just a tax on those with non-compliant cars, it’s a tax on every Havering resident."
Asked if they recognised the figures produced by Cllr Taylor and if the council plans on paying ULEZ fees on its fleet after the £12.50 daily fee’s expansion on August 29, a spokesperson said given the political nature of Councillor Taylor’s comments, the authority was not prepared to comment. They did however point out “some inaccuracies”.
The authority, for example, said it did not recently double the price of resident parking permits, instead increasing them by £5. An error made earlier this month may be “the reason Cllr Taylor is mistaken”. Councillor Ray Morgon, Leader of Havering Council said on May 3: “The process of agreeing the new permit parking charges has been reviewed.(Image: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire)
"A paper showing the first permit parking increases for many years was included at the Overview and Scrutiny committee and at the Cabinet Meeting held on the following evening. An Addendum was emailed to Cabinet Members on the day of their meeting, with higher increase charges to those presented to the Scrutiny Committee. This was received too late for Cabinet Members to have oversight of and comment on.”
Havering Council also disputed Cllr Taylor’s claim that the authority is cutting expenditure on its roads. A spokesperson said that this year the council “will make a £6 million investment in our highways improvement programme”.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor has been clear that the decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was not an easy one, but necessary to tackle toxic air pollution. Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to air pollution, children are growing up with stunted lungs and thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.
"We know that councils are keen to do the right thing and ensure their vehicle fleets are as clean as possible. TfL will continue to engage with outer London boroughs and ensure they are prepared for the London-wide expansion of the ULEZ this August.”
- ^ MyLondon reports (www.mylondon.news)
- ^ Traffic and travel news from across Essex (www.essexlive.news)