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ULEZ expansion: London mayor pleads with councils to ‘put politics aside’ – as cameras vandalised | Politics News

London mayor Sadiq Khan has pleaded with three councils to “put their politics aside” and allow the installation of warning signs ahead of the expansion of the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) in less than two weeks.

From 29 August, the ULEZ will be expanded to the outer boroughs of London, meaning non-compliant vehicles will be charged a £12.50 daily rate from that date.

However, the London mayor is concerned that some county councils have failed to allow Transport for London (TfL) to put up signs warning drivers they are entering the zone, which could lead some to enter it by mistake.

His spokesperson urged Surrey, Kent and Hertfordshire county councils to “do what’s best for their residents and drivers” and allow the signs to be installed.

London's Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) is to be expanded in August
The new boundary of London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) from 29 August

The mayor’s spokesperson said: “Councils have a responsibility to ensure their residents and all motorists are aware of important changes that may impact drivers.

“By refusing to allow TfL to install ULEZ warning signs at key junctions, these councils outside London are not fulfilling their responsibility to ensure their residents and other motorists have all the information they need to avoid driving into the ULEZ inadvertently.

“The mayor is urging these three county councils to put their politics aside and do what’s best for their residents and drivers.”

City Hall said TfL has offered to pay the full cost of installing and maintaining signs.

A ULEZ sign at Tower Hill in central London. File photo
Three councils have refused to allow Transport for London to install ULEZ signs ahead of the zone’s expansion

However, there is widespread anger at the expansion of the ULEZ, and some of the new signs and cameras have been vandalised ahead of the start of the expanded scheme.

Spokespeople for Kent and Surrey county councils have said that they will not allow any signage to be installed until there is “mitigation” in place for local residents.

While Londoners can apply for a grant of up to £2,000 to replace a non-compliant vehicle, no such scrappage scheme is in place for those who reside outside the capital.

People demonstrate outside the High Court, central London, where five Conservative-led councils are challenging Mayor of London Sadiq Khan's intention to expand London's ultra low emission zone (Ulez). The outer-London boroughs of Bexley, Bromley, Harrow and Hillingdon along with Surrey County Council launched legal action in February over the proposed extension of Ulez beyond the North and South Circular roads. Picture date: Tuesday July 4, 2023.
Protests have taken place against the ULEZ expansion

Matt Furniss, cabinet member for transport at Surrey County Council, said although the mayor’s decision last month to expand the scrappage scheme “looks to be a step in the right direction”, it will have “no impact on those outside of London.”

A spokesperson for Kent County Council said: “We fully understand and appreciate our obligations as a highways authority, and the safety of road users is always our priority.

“We stand by our decision not to adopt ULEZ signage for as long as there is no mitigation to minimise the impact of the expansion of the scheme on Kent residents.”

And Hertfordshire County Council told the BBC: “No amount of signage will change the fact that our residents and businesses face a £12.50 penalty for travelling into the capital.”

In July, the High Court ruled that the expansion of the ULEZ is legal after five Conservative-run councils brought a legal challenge – which included Surrey County Council.

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