Calls for Crawley to oppose mayor of London Sadiq Khan's ULEZ expansion fails

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A call for Crawley Borough Council to oppose the expansion of the London Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) has been voted down.

The ULEZ is due to be expanded to cover the whole of London from August 29, with drivers of cars which do not meet the emissions standards facing daily charges of £12.50 – with the penalty for not paying set to rise to £180.

A notice of motion from Conservative leader Duncan Crow was tabled during a meeting of the full council calling for a letter to be written to the Mayor of London laying out the ‘negative impacts for Crawley residents’.

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Instead, council leader Michael Jones tabled what Mr Crow called a ‘wrecking amendment’, changing the motion from a declaration of opposition to a call for the expansion to be paused for further research – something that is extremely unlikely to happen given that the introduction date is only weeks away.

Ultra Low Emission Zone in London (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)Ultra Low Emission Zone in London (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)
Ultra Low Emission Zone in London (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

The council initially debated the motion in March before deferring it to seek advice from West Sussex County Council as highways authority – a move Mr Crow blamed on Labour councillors not wanting to express an opinion on ULEZ so close to the elections.

Advice received from the county council said that while the authority supported Transport for London’s ambition to improve air quality, it would be sharing its concerns about the impact of ULEZ on people outside Greater London.

But the county council added that the number of Crawley people who would be affected by the expansion would be ‘far fewer than might have been thought’, with only 6 per cent of residents travelling within the new boundary for work.

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Mr Jones’ amendment also called on the county council to match the mitigation package being provided in London for any businesses within the borough who needed to travel regularly into the new ULEZ – a suggestion Mr Crow dismissed as ‘ridiculous’.

The debate stuttered to a halt after Mr Crow suggested an amendment to the amendment, calling on the county council to seek compensation from the Mayor of London.

Officers advised that changing an amendment was not allowed by the council’s Constitution – and Mr Crow’s call to temporarily suspend that part of the Constitution was also voted down by the Labour group.

Mr Jones told the meeting that the expansion should be paused until modelling was produced by Transport for London showing the impact it would have on traffic flows, emissions and pollution levels outside Greater London.

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He said: “We would all like to see improved air quality, a reduction in pollution and improved health.”

Agreeing that air pollution kills, he added: “However, one of the risks of what is happening in London is that all the vehicles that are being sold on, that aren’t compliant with the ULEZ standards, will find their way out of London into areas like Crawley where they will increase the problems of air pollution not reduce them.”

The amended motion was approved by 19 votes to 0, with the entire Tory group abstaining from voting.