Kent County Council is planning to ask the London Mayor to reverse the new ULEZ zone. The Council believes the new boundaries will “disproportionately” impact on low-paid key workers.
The London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) have faced opposition from members of the county council. London Mayor Sadiq Khan wants to stretch ULEZ into parts of Greater London, such as Bexley and Bromley, which have historically been within Kent.
A majority of members voted in favour of a motion to ask Mr Khan to reverse the decision at a meeting on 13th July 2023, and will refuse to erect any ULEZ signs on KCC land.
A KCC motion stated “…this council condemns the implementation of the London ULEZ expansion that will impact business and separate families and friends who live in Kent from those who live in the historic parts of Kent that are now within the Greater London boundary, disproportionately hitting essential key workers and those on low incomes who cannot afford to buy new, compliant cars and therefore call upon the Mayor of London to reverse this decision.”
Conservative Cllr Jeremy Kite, who represents Dartford Rural, said he agreed with ULEZ in principle “in the right place but not in Kent”. But he warned “The mayor is not going to change his mind.”
Cllr Rory Love (Con), who represents Cheriton Sandgate and Hythe East, said “Sadiq Khan is to blame for this mess.”
The Mayor is still insisting that the ULEZ zone has been increased to improve air quality for millions of people. But the Mayor also admits that only a very small proportion of people will be affected by the measures, meaning that the air quality changes will be minor.
Critics have slammed the enlarged zone as “just another cash grab!”.
KCC already has its own Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy which aims to improve understanding of air quality. In partnership with Medway Council and the Kent district councils, it aims to respond to the UK climate emergency and drive clean, resilient economic recovery across the county.
The mayor has been able to enforce ULEZ without any consultation to local councils. It has raised questions about the power given to the Mayor and whether this needs to be reviewed in future.