Thank you for covering the Ulez expansion. I’d like to highlight some points if I may but I’m afraid it’s lengthy as there are many aspects to consider. The vast majority of affected cars don’t qualify for the scrappage scheme so are being sold at a reduced cost well outside the zone, like up north. They are still being driven, so any emissions are just moved. Improvements in air in the original zone were already evident before its introduction, due to improvements in engine technology.
I believe, uncoincidentally, new road schemes introduced before the suggestion of Ulez expansion increase vehicle emissions, helping to justify its implementation: 20mph when engines are designed to be more efficient at, say, 30mph; LTNs where cars are forced on average three times as far around as the most direct route; narrowing or removal of carriageways for little-used cycle lanes (and removal of trees for same), traffic-light rephasing, etc, cause congestion. All increase journey times, so emissions are increased.
The four thousand early deaths constantly quoted is from a data construct in a report Mayor Khan commissioned himself at taxpayers’ expense, so he could pretty much be assured of a result in line with his agenda. Even so, it also stated that results on air quality of extending Ulez “would be negligible”. My 94-year-old father died recently from lung cancer, but he voiced he would prefer to have retained his freedom of choice and movements rather than to have lived longer with an ailment he would have had even if air was perfect.
As an asthmatic for 40 years, I check air quality daily via Defra and LAQN and it’s consistently Good/Low in Greater London. On a whim I started comparing with the Highlands of Scotland and the Lake District and was genuinely surprised to thus far always find them a degree worse than London but still Good/Low. Please check for yourself to be assured of my honesty.
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- ‘Nothing fills that void’: 10 years since Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah died from air pollution
- Here’s how to check air pollution levels in your area
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As to support for this scheme, I can’t believe a poll by an organisation with such a vested interest is going to be impartial. That would be like thinking the ‘consultation’ conducted before the decision on Ulez was conducted in an impartial manner. Few knew of its existence except the target demographics actively encouraged to take part as being likely to be pro. Questions were heavily biased so as to be impossible to qualify such as, “Do you want children to breathe clean air? Y/N” with no opportunity to say you believe they already do. When figures part way through showed it was still not going in favour of the narrative, further pro groups were targeted. When results were still not in favour despite all attempts to subvert, the Mayor took the “difficult decision” to go ahead anyway at cost of £250 million despite having previously stated he wouldn’t if there was majority against.