Sadiq Khan talks on the expansion of the ULEZ
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Ms Harrison, MP for Copeland, said the country needs to abandon “20th century thinking centred around private vehicle ownership” and said it was “staggering” that nearly two-thirds of car trips are taken by lone drivers. She stressed the importance for British roads to introduce “greater flexibility, with personal choice and low carbon shared transport” such as bike share schemes, car clubs, e-scooters, and digital demand responsive transport services like Uber.
Richard Dilks, chief executive of shared transport campaigners CoMoUK, welcomed Harrison’s comments, which he said demonstrates that shared transport is on the Government’s agenda.
He added: “By encouraging people to use public and active travel modes more, governments can help reduce the demand for privately owned cars and achieve the country’s net zero strategy.”
But in a poll of 3,276 Express.co.uk readers, held from December 21 to 23, a staggering 91 percent of voters said private car ownership should not be banned in cities.
One reader, Mrs Mitchell, said: “How is this person a transport minister with the insane notion that we should ban owning private motors?!”
But other voters questioned why inner-city dwellers would want to own a car at all.
An Express voter commented: “I’m sure that, if I lived in central London, I would not have a car. Why would I? Why would anyone?”
When asked if readers would join a car share scheme, 88 percent said they would not, whilst eight percent said they would, and four percent were undecided.
One reader, Ken Maid, pointed out the risks of using shared transport in the time of Covid.
They said: “I wouldn’t travel on public transport with all these viruses around. A totally unachievable policy.”
Speaking on behalf of the Department for Transport, Ms Harrison told the Collaborative Mobility annual shared transport conference that the UK needs to make “shared mobility less of a novelty and increasing the norm to make it as easy, as convenient and as accessible as possible”.
She added: “I think the benefits are really significant: from clean air to healthier populations to greater connectivity for more people, no matter where they live.”
In October, London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone tax was extended from a 21 square km area of central London to cover most of London up to the outskirts, affecting a 225 square km zone.
The move aims to encourage city dwellers away from private car ownership and towards using public transport to decrease toxic air pollution.
Since the introduction of ULEZ in 2019, there are now 44,100 fewer polluting cars driving in the zone every day, and toxic NO2 concentrations have been reduced by 44 percent.
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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has put tackling air pollution at the top of his agenda, as pollution contributes to 4,000 premature deaths per year in the city, and up to 36,000 deaths in the UK.
He told BBC London: “This is a matter of life and death. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
The ULEZ expansion comes as other cities are looking to introduce similar car tax measures, with Portsmouth becoming the latest city to introduce measures to tackle air pollution.
Portsmouth is set to launch its Clean Air Zone on November 29, with high-polluting private hire vehicles and taxis being charged £10.
Birmingham council announced what it calls a “transformative” transport plan that will see the busy city becoming a super-sized low-traffic neighbourhood, as well as introducing a new fleet of zero-emission buses and more cycle lanes.
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