Sadiq Khan warns Ulez rebel councils they will be responsible for hundreds of deaths

Sadiq Khan has claimed councils rebelling against the expansion of the Ulez scheme will be responsible for hundreds of deaths if they are successful in blocking the plan.

In a letter to the four outer London councils currently considering a legal challenge to block the expansion, Mr Khan calls on them to stop their action and tells them to think of “hundreds of bereaved families” in the boroughs because of pollution.

The London Mayor writes: “Instead of wasting a huge amount of your precious local authority budgets and money raised through your residents paying council tax, I urge you to do the right thing by focusing on the health of those you represent, including the children in your borough growing up with stunted lungs, and the hundreds of bereaved families in your borough grieving because their loved ones have lost their lives.”

The letter comes after the boroughs of Bromley, Bexley, Harrow and Hillingdon banded together to look at launching a legal challenge against Mr Khan’s plan, sending the Mayor a pre-action protocol letter outlining their intention last month.

Mr Khan said he expected any challenge to be unsuccessful and said that instead of pursuing expensive legal challenges they should focus on helping to clean up the dirty air blighting the capital.

The expansion of the Ulez zone is set to come in in August and will see people being charged £12.50 in all 32 boroughs if their vehicle does not meet emissions standards.

The policy has resulted in widespread opposition, with eight councils, including the four boroughs currently considering legal action, refusing to sign an agreement that would allow the mayor to install new camera infrastructure to police the zone.

In his letter, Mr Khan points to research by Imperial College London showing that Bromley was the area with the highest premature deaths linked to air pollution, with an estimated 204 lives lost in 2019. The research estimated that Bexley saw 162 lives lost, Harrow 118 lives and Hillingdon 155 because of conditions linked to air pollution.

A spokesman for the four boroughs said the consortium would not be commentating while it was receiving legal advice.

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