MQT on 2017-11-16
Session date: 
November 16, 2017
Question By: 
Shaun Bailey
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
The Mayor


Is London prepared for your 2019 start date for the ULEZ?


Answer for ULEZ

Answer for ULEZ

Answered By: 
The Mayor

Unlike my predecessor and Conservative Assembly Members, I am determined to take urgent action to help clean up London’s lethal air.  The shameful scale of the public health crisis London faces with thousands of premature deaths and illness caused by air pollution must be addressed.  Bringing in ULEZ reduces NOx emissions from road transport by around 45% in 2020 in central London.  However, because I have accelerated the ULEZ, there will now be a 20% reduction in harmful road transport NOx emissions in 2019 in central London that would not have been achieved otherwise.  Early introduction would mean that 100,000 Londoners, 19 schools in central London and 42 schools across London will no longer be exposed to illegal air quality in 2019.


Starting the ULEZ early is the right thing to do.  London is preparing for the ULEZ.  Currently over half the cars driving in central London meet the ULEZ standards and this will naturally increase as the implementation date approaches.  We have seen a continued fall in the sale of diesel vehicles and people increasingly understand the impact different vehicles can have on the air we breathe.


Eleven business improvement districts wrote jointly to the evening standard supporting the T-Charge.  However, I appreciate some people find it challenging to meet the new ULEZ standards.  I have repeatedly called on the Government to introduce a targeted scrappage fund for small businesses and low income households in order to reduce the costs of meeting the ULEZ requirements.  We will also need a car tax system that encourages people to choose cleaner and zero emission vehicles with any tax revenues contributing to improving air quality and helping scrap the most polluting vehicles.  I would hope that the Assembly, all of the Assembly, would join me in lobbying the Chancellor on this in advance of next week’s budget.


TfL itself is preparing for the ULEZ in 2019.  The successful launch of the T-Charge last month shows that it is capable of delivering a scheme to identifying charge non-compliant vehicles.  An updated vehicle checker enabling people to find out whether their vehicle is compliant was launched three weeks ago and I am confident there will be a smooth transition when ULEZ replaces the T-Charge.  As part of the ULEZ consultation TfL undertook significant publicity in engaging residents, business and other affected groups, working to make sure London is ready for ULEZ.



Shaun Bailey AM:  Thank you for that answer, Mr Mayor.  Just to be clear nobody opposes ULEZ.  I accept it is going to happen.  It will happen early.  The consultation has been done.  Indeed, it was your predecessor who proposed the ULEZ so it seems like quite a good idea to me.  What I really want to concentrate on is the impact on our emergency services.  Your press release would suggest you have shown some flexibility around an exemption but I want to press you for some more detail.  The first being what constitutes in this exemption an emergency vehicle?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  What we are doing is we are working with the various emergency services to come up with a memorandum of understanding the difference, so the London Ambulance Service would be different to London Fire Brigade, different to the Metropolitan Police Service, because some are more advanced than others.  What we do not want is a perverse situation where, hypothetically speaking, the Ambulance Service is writing us a cheque because their vehicles are non-compliant, which just does not make sense, when they are going to order a new fleet in six months’ time anyway.  We are talking to each of the emergency responses to come up with an agreement so we can make sure that they buy their fleet within reason when they were going to and not incur costs and then have to pay the ULEZ fine.  I am going to share with you that once they are done but we are talking with all of them, they are all very constructive, and they are all very happy with the ULEZ coming forward.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Will this conversation take in to account how much it will cost some of the services because obviously the police, for instance, have a large number of vehicles that are not compliant?  There will be some costs.  Has any modelling been done on that?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Absolutely.  For example, one of the things the police are happy to do is make sure, in the interim, the non-compliant vehicles where they can be, are not used in central London, but where the cleaner vehicles are used in central London.  Sometimes obviously there will be a crossover.  We are going to be flexible and reasonable.  Nobody wants to send out a bill for a fine when blues and twos are needed to be used in central London.  The good news is the police, London Ambulance Service, fire brigade, are all happy with our approach and that there are good conversations taking place.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Can you guarantee Londoners that the early implementation of the ULEZ will not affect the operational effectiveness of the police because if they are having to make --




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.




Shaun Bailey AM:  You are positive about that?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Yes.




Shaun Bailey AM:  That modelling has been done?  You could share that with me?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  That work has been done.  I am not sure about sharing the modelling with you.  The work has been done and it is being done with the police, the fire service and London Ambulance Service.




Shaun Bailey AM:  There will be no impact in them having to change their operation in trying to avoid the cost?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  You have got to treat each of the three separately.  The fire service is way ahead.  The Metropolitan Police Service police is probably further back.  London Ambulance Service (LAS) is probably in the middle.  The fire service are reasonably confident, they are okay, they are doing some  leading in relation to this.  Ambulance Service, because of the grading they had in a recent inspection, they have got other priorities and we understand that.  The new head of LAS was at TfL so there is good institutional expertise in LAS with Garrett Emmerson [Chief Executive, LAS] leading them.  The Metropolitan Police Service is where there is a bigger challenge because the number of vehicles is so big and they have been less prepared and that is where we are doing the most work with the Metropolitan Police Service but the approach from the Metropolitan Police Service has been fantastic.  They are not resistant.  They understand the reason for the ULEZWhat we do not want to do is, if they were going to get new vehicles in, for argument’s sake 2021, is for them to incur costs bringing it forward simply to meet the ULEZ deadline. We are being reasonable with them and so I have seen no evidence of there being problems with any of those three emergency services.




Shaun Bailey AM:  This sunset period, is there detail on that?  Is it in the public arena?  Do the three services have a framework that they are working to that you have provided?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  The date for the sunset has not been set yet because it is contingent upon what the procurement requirements are.  Once we have reached an agreement of course that will be made public, yes.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Will they have three separate sunsets because they are very different?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I think so.  I think because they are very different, because their contracts with their fleets are very different, because some are more vast, they will have to be different.  To give credit to London Fire Brigade, they can well say, “Well, we will delay it as well.”  To be fair to them they are not saying that.  They are saying, “We are ready to go earlier and we understand that we have got fewer vehicles”.  That demonstrates the ‘can do’ attitude from our emergency services.




Shaun Bailey AM:  This sounds like it is going to end up being a blanket exemption.  Would it not it have been just simpler to do that in the first place?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Are you sure?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  If there is one cleaner vehicle coming to the surrounding area that is progress.  If there are hundreds, that is big progress.  If there are thousands, that is massive progress.  When you build on the number of vehicles that are in the fire service, the London Ambulance Service, the Metropolitan Police Service police, if we can get some improvement earlier that is a win.




Shaun Bailey AM:  I accept that but remember this is a win at the risk of affecting the operational readiness.  That is how I see it.




The last question I will ask may irk you slightly but we all agree in this Assembly that our services could do with more money, particularly the police, but do you think you undermine our case when you impose a new cost on them that they had already budgeted to deal with in 2020?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I am not clear if you are doing a u-turn again about this.  The ULEZ, according to you, was going to be brought in on September 2020 under the previous MayorWe have consulted widely on this including the Metropolitan Police Service police, including the London Fire Brigade, including London Ambulance Service, about bringing it forward to April 2019.  Why?  Because of the record numbers of premature deaths.  Why?  Because of the record numbers of people suffering the consequences of poor quality air but also the economic cost.  It cost London £3.7 billion, according to independent experts, because of the cost of poor quality air.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Sorry to interrupt you, Mr Mayor, because time is shortThe point is this we are pursuing, cross-party, the Government for more funds, particularly for the police, and it just occurs to me that you have imposed the cost that they had already budgeted for, but you have made a new cost by bringing it forward.  Do you believe that undermines our case?




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  No because £3.7 billion, which is the economic cost for poor quality air per year in London --




Shaun Bailey AM:  No, but it is not the cost of the policing budget, is it?  It is the policing budget that the Government are having a problem supporting us with and it seems, externally, we, London, you are imposing new costs that are undermining our case.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  I find it astonishing that you guys will go to any lengths to defend this Conservative government.




Shaun Bailey AM:  I am not defending the Government.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Blaming the air for the cuts your government is making, that is quite remarkable.




Shaun Bailey AM:  That is disingenuous.  I have just told you that as cross-party we will pursue the Government with you for funds.  I am just asking does this undermine the case?  Because obviously if you are sat in the Home Office you do not just fund London, you fund the country, and if we keep imposing stuff that ups the cost to us it weakens our case.  That is the point.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  Right.  No, I do not think --




Shaun Bailey AM:  Okay.  If you do not, fair enough.




Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London):  -- it undermines our case to have a sufficient number of police officers keeping us safe.




Shaun Bailey AM:  Okay.  Thank you very much, Chair.