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Two-thirds of suburban London boroughs have consented to Ulez enforcement cameras, TfL reveals

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 30/01/2023 Ross Lydall
Ulez expansion © PA Wire Ulez expansion

Sixteen of the 24 London boroughs that will be affected by the expansion of the ultra low emission zone (Ulez) have agreed to allow enforcement cameras to be erected on their roads, it can be revealed.

London mayor Sadiq Khan wants to expand the Ulez across all 33 boroughs on August 29 this year to reduce road pollution.

A £110m scrappage scheme, offering grants to lower income Londoners, small businesses and charities to scarp or upgrade non-compliant vehicles, opened on Monday.

Some Tory and Lib-Dem run boroughs have indicated their opposition to the Ulez expansion or have asked Mr Khan to delay the widening, to allow residents more time to upgrade their vehicles.

Transport for London has asked London councils to sign a “section 8” agreement granting it permission to erect CCTV cameras and road signs on borough roads.

Alex Williams, TfL’s chief customer and strategy officer, who is overseeing the Ulez expansion, told the Evening Standard: “Sixteen have signed and we need 24 to sign. We are in a good place.”

He said the boroughs yet to agree to grant permission would be receiving letters. Some of the delays were due to approval being required from a full council meeting rather than there being in-principle objections, he said. “I think we will get over the line fairly soon,” he said.

It is understood that the eight boroughs yet to sign are five Tory, two Lib-Dem and one Labour-run councils. TfL has declined to name the boroughs.

Last week the Standard revealed that TfL already had the legal power to install about two-thirds of the cameras as they will be placed on top of existing traffic lights.

TfL also has the authority to erect cameras on borough roads but would prefer to do this with local consent.

“It’s a big decision for the mayor and I’m not surprised that some boroughs are against it,” Mr Williams said.

“We have the powers to install the cameras. Two-thirds are going to be on existing signal posts. The signs are mostly changing the LEZ [low emission zone] signs at that are already there to say LEZ and ULEZ. These issues are going to get sorted, I’m confident about that.


“We want to do this in partnership with the boroughs. We want them to respect the decision by the mayor. It’s not about money - it’s about the health of the citizens of London. Most of those outer London boroughs, where they have got concerns, have 100 to 150 premature deaths every year linked to poor air quality.

“We are confident the cameras and the signs will all go in. If you want to be outside the zone, what are you saying – that you want more dirty vehicles in your borough? It’s a perverse logic.”

Mr Khan said he expected four Tory boroughs to seek a judicial review of his decision to expand the Ulez across Greater London.

He sidestepped questions about whether he would bow to the London Assembly’s request to increase the size of the scrappage scheme by £100m or delay the launch of the scheme.

He said: “We have seen four Conservative councils taking TfL to court, and now Lib-Dem Richmond and Lib-Dem Kingston also trying to find an excuse to delay. I’m quite clear: in the face of opposition from the Conservative/Lib-Dem coalition, I’m not willing to delay.”

Asked about the eight councils that had yet to consent to TfL installing Ulez cameras on their roads, Mr Khan said: “I think before the deadline we will have more councils signing up… before the scheme goes live.

“I think these four Tory councils will take TfL to court. It’s for these four Tory councils to explain to their residents how they are using taxpayers’ money to pay lawyers to bring a legal case rather than [providing] free school meals or helping me clean up the air.”

Nick Rogers, GLA Conservatives transport spokesperson, said: "Sadiq Khan’s scrappage scheme will not protect the vast majority of low income Londoners and small businesses from his ULEZ tax.

"Sadiq Khan has not been honest about his ULEZ expansion and the sham consultation he is using to implement it. The Mayor needs to listen to Londoners, scrap his expansion, and spend the money on policies that actually reduce air pollution."

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