London's Motorists [1]

Session date: 
February 7, 2019
Question By: 
Susan Hall
Organisation: 
GLA Conservatives
Asked Of: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Question

Susan Hall AM:  The point is that we agree with the ULEZ but not being brought in when it is because it is damaging small businesses.  You say you are going to be the most pro‑business Mayor ever.  There is absolutely no evidence of that going forward whatsoever. 

 

You said you expect the opening of ULEZ to run pretty smoothly.  If it does go badly or less well than you think it is going to go, will you learn lessons from that and consider making changes to your plans for the 2021 expansion?

 

Supplementary To: 

Answer

London's Motorists [1]

London's Motorists [1]

Answered By: 
Sadiq Khan (Mayor of London) & Mike Brown MVO (Commissioner, Transport for London)

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, I am glad we have clarity that the Conservative Party opposes ULEZ beginning this April 2019.  Those businesses that support ULEZ beginning as I plan to do so are the CBI, which is a business organisation, London First, which represents over 200 of London’s leading employers, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you answer the question, please?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I am sorry, Chairman, but the question contained a premise ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  No, I was giving you clarification on our ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  ‑‑ that this was not pro‑business.  It is pro‑business, as indeed is the current Mayor.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you answer the question?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I just did, Chairman.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  He has forgotten it. 

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you just concentrate on the questions I am asking you?  I am actually saying to you: if the ULEZ does not run smoothly like you seem to think it will, which is amazing because so many others things you do not, and if things go badly or less well than you expect, will you then learn lessons from that and seek to at least make changes for your plans for the 2021 expansion?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, I know the Conservatives oppose the ULEZ beginning on 8 April [2019] but we are keen to make it work as best we can on 8 April 2019 and there is a very important reason why.  Each year in London, thousands of Londoners die prematurely because of the ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  You are not answering the question again, are you, Mr Mayor?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, I will answer the question as I think it best to answer the question.  I appreciate it does not suit the party-political interests of the Member asking the question.  It is not my fault if her party opposes a policy supported by 82% of Londoners who responded to the consultation.

 

Susan Hall AM:  I am asking, Mr Mayor, if it does not go well, will you look at the 2021 expansion?  It is quite a simple question.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, listen.  I appreciate that it is very difficult for the Conservatives to oppose a policy that is directly targeting one of the biggest killers of Londoners prematurely ‑‑

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  You have told us that several times.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  The question has been asked several times, Chairman.

 

Susan Hall AM:  You did not answer the question.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  The Assembly Member does not think that you are answering the question.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  She is entitled to think what she wants, Chairman.

 

Susan Hall AM:  No.  The whole point of this is that we ask you questions and you are supposed to answer.  It is a very simple question, Mr Mayor, especially for you.  The simple question is: if the ULEZ does not run smoothly, and we are pleased that you think it will do, but if it does not, will you learn lessons from that and consider making changes to the plans for the 2021 expansion?  Simple.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, can I just say?  I do not mind at all.  As rude as the Assembly Member wants to be, I am used to Conservatives being rude to me.  The point is this ‑‑

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  I do not think she is being rude to you. 

 

Susan Hall AM:  I am trying to get an answer to a simple question.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  You would not, Chairman.  I long for the day when we have an impartial chair.  Maybe when we have a new one, that day will come.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you please answer the question?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I appreciate, Chairman, how divided the Conservative Group is on the London Assembly.  I get this. 

 

Tony Devenish AM:  You and Jeremy Corbyn [Leader of the Opposition].

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I appreciate this and I appreciate the problems that you have, but I do not resile from the fact we have in London a situation where thousands of Londoners are dying prematurely because of bad‑quality air.

 

Susan Hall AM:  No, Mr Mayor, stop ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  We have a situation in London ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  ‑‑ because you are not answering the question.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  You are saying it again.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  ‑‑ where I have a policy that is being opposed ‑‑

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  It is again.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  ‑‑ by the Conservative party, but I am in favour of this policy being brought in on 8 April [2019].

 

Susan Hall AM:  Shall we try another question, Mr Mayor, that you might choose to answer?  Clearly you do not know the answer to that very simple question.  The next question: how many Londoners does TfL estimate will be forced off the road in April [2019] due to not being able to afford to run or replace their non‑compliant car?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, can I welcome the young children who are in the Assembly to watch this behaviour?  Can I just say to the children that that is what Conservatives do?  They are very rude.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  No.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you answer the question?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  --  the other side of the room.  You are most welcome. 

 

Chairman, the answer to one of the questions asked by the Assembly Member, I think the most recent one, was a question based on a premise that I do not accept, which is that people are being forced off the road.  What I am hoping we do see is behaviour change from those who currently drive into London with a vehicle that is contributing to the bad‑quality air in our city.  For example, we know that there are people driving into the Congestion Charge area whose vehicles emit too much NO2, NOx and particulate matter.  For those children watching, what this can lead to is your lungs being underdeveloped forever.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Yes.  Can you just concentrate on the question, Mr Mayor?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  What I am trying to do, children, is to have a policy that reduces the chance of you having lungs that are underdeveloped.  That is why it is so important ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Mr Mayor, you are using our time.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  I thought the question was about people being forced off the road because of the affordability of the charge.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Absolutely.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, I made the point in answer to the question that I do not accept the premise of the question, which is people being forced off the road.  What will happen, as we have seen with the T‑Charge and we have already seen, hopefully, in the lead‑up to the ULEZ, is people changing their behaviour.  For example, they may choose to buy a Euro VI-compliant vehicle if it is diesel, a Euro IV-compliant vehicle if it is petrol or a Euro III-compliant vehicle if it is a motorcycle, or some people may decide to walk, cycle or use public transport. 

 

Susan Hall AM:  The poorest in our society often cannot afford to replace these.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, it is really important.  Again ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Do you accept that the car tax ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  ‑‑ there is a false premise in that question.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Hang on, I am not ‑‑

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  What we do know ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  You do not answer the questions.  That is the problem.  This is another question.  Try this one.  Do you accept that with car tax and insurance, the cost of Ministry of Transport tests and taxes on fuels on well, potentially the Congestion Charge and the ULEZ, London motorists are already charged a huge amount?  Can you tell me what your thoughts are around road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, the question contained a premise at the beginning, which was that the poorest Londoners will suffer the most.  It is worth ‑‑

 

Tony Devenish AM:  That was the last question.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  I thought that was the previous question.

 

Tony Devenish AM:  We are on road pricing now.

 

Susan Hall AM:  What are your thoughts, Mr Mayor, on road pricing?  Other Members here have brought it up.  Some of us are absolutely not for it.  You clearly need to know where you stand on it.  Can you tell us where you stand on road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, the point I was going to make, which is an important point, is that the poorest Londoners are least likely to own a car ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you tell us where you stand on road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  ‑‑ but the poorest Londoners are the most likely to suffer the worst consequences of the poor‑quality air.  It is really important to realise this is an issue of social justice and unlike the Conservative party, we believe in addressing this.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Road pricing, Mr Mayor.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  You are not being asked about social justice, Mr Mayor.  You are being asked what your views are on road pricing. 

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London): Chairman, I know you are against social justice but ‑‑

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Mr Mayor, do not impugn motive to me.

 

Susan Hall AM:  Can you please just answer?

 

Tony Devenish AM:  Answer the question.

 

Susan Hall AM:  What are your thoughts on road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, the Transport Strategy that I have published some time ago ‑‑ and I am disappointed that the Assembly Member has not taken the trouble to read the Strategy, it is a very good Strategy ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  What are your thoughts on road pricing, Mr Mayor?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  The Transport Strategy sets out our views on ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  What are your thoughts, Mr Mayor, just so that the young people who have just joined us [in the public gallery] can hear?  What would you say to them about road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, I am being invited to talk to the young children and so I will do so.  Children, we have published a document called the Transport ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Mr Mayor, please do try to answer this question.  That is what you are here for.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I am sorry.  I am being stopped from talking to you, children.  I do apologise.

 

Susan Hall AM:  I apologise as well, but I want the answer.  What are your thoughts on road pricing?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  What I have said, Chairman, in the Transport Strategy is that we need to be exploring technology ‑‑

 

Susan Hall AM:  Do you approve of it or do you not approve of it?

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  Chairman, for goodness’ sake, I --

 

Susan Hall AM:  It is quite simple.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  This is ridiculous now.  Come on.  Just, please, put it aside.

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  Honestly, Mr Mayor ‑ and I am known for my objectivity ‑ I cannot understand why you cannot tell the Assembly Member what your views are on road pricing.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  I am trying to, Chairman, but I keep getting heckled from the Chamber.  Our strategy on road pricing is set out in our Transport Strategy, which sets out that we will explore road pricing technology as and when it comes on. 

 

Tony Arbour AM (Chairman):  There you go.

 

Sadiq Khan (Chair, Transport for London):  What is clear is that the technology is nowhere near ready to be utilised, but I have been quite clear and explicit, in both my Manifesto and since, that what we are not going to do is increase congestion charging, which is a form, some would say, of road pricing.