ULEZ is a 'clumsy mechanism' says former MP Stephen Pound
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Just over half (51 percent) of Londoners support Mayor Sadiq Khan’s plans to extend the ULEZ charging area, which is set to take place next August. According to a new YouGov survey commissioned by the Mayor, only 27 percent opposed the plan.
Of the 1,245 respondents, one in five (22 percent) were undecided whether the zone should be extended to include most of Greater London.
Tackling toxic air in London is a top priority for the Mayor, which is why he is proposing to expand the ULEZ London-wide.
The proposed expansion would come into effect in August 2023 and would improve air quality for five million more Londoners and help tackle the climate emergency.
Almost two-thirds of Londoners without access to a garden or private outdoor space are keen for the ULEZ to expand and half of these want it to be implemented sooner.
Implementation of the ULEZ expansion is even more popular among those under 50, where 56 percent say they support it compared to 21 percent who oppose.
Overall, 54 percent of Londoners see the ULEZ as positive, and this percentage hasn’t changed since polling in 2021, revealing that the ongoing cost of living crisis has not swayed the support of Londoners for the ULEZ.
Reacting to the results of the survey, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, said he would carefully consider all responses to the public consultation.
He added: “Air pollution in our city is contributing to children growing up with stunted lungs and older Londoners developing dementia.
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“The ULEZ has already made a big difference – reducing air pollution by nearly half in central London and helping us to tackle the climate emergency.
“It’s clear that Londoners now want the zone to be expanded given the immense harm air pollution is still causing in our city – from cancer to dementia.
“Expansion of the ULEZ would lead to five million more people being able to breathe cleaner, less polluted air.
“I don’t want us to miss out on any opportunities to protect Londoners from toxic air so that we can continue building a healthier, cleaner and greener London for everyone.”
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Around 4,000 Londoners died prematurely in 2019 because of long-term exposure to air pollution, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London boroughs.
Over 500,000 Londoners live with asthma and are more vulnerable to the impacts of toxic air, with more than half of these people living in outer London boroughs.
While those living in central London are breathing cleaner air due to the ULEZ, with roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels down by 44 percent, those in outer boroughs are not benefiting to the same extent.
The Mayor has been called on to make this fairer by expanding the ULEZ London-wide.
Ruth Fitzharris, spokesperson for Mums for Lungs, said: “As a parent of a six-year-old child with asthma in outer London, I am really glad to see that many Londoners are in favour of a bigger ULEZ, which will benefit the health of so many children living here.
“One in 10 kids in London have asthma. One-third of those cases are caused by air pollution.
“All kids in London are negatively affected by air pollution and they really need to breathe clean air now”.
The Mayor believes air quality is also a matter of social justice, with air pollution hitting the poorest communities as well as Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities the hardest.
The polling reveals a clear majority (55 percent) of ethnic minority Londoners think the ULEZ expansion should be implemented – almost three times those who don’t.
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