Sadiq Khan has set a target of enforcing a million speeding offences in London every year – as Tory MPs urge him to stop spending energy defending his ULEZ expansion when the Met is in special measures.
The number of drivers caught speeding in the capital jumped to 443,609 from April last year – a rise of 64 per cent on the 270,458 the previous year – following the installation of new high-tech enforcement cameras.
It comes as City Hall is understood to want the Metropolitan Police to have the capability to prosecute a million drivers each year from April 2024.
The targeted increase is being cited as the latest example of Mr Khan’s assault on motorists amid the planned ULEZ expansion in August and an overhaul of the road network that will also see the implementation of 20mph speed limits on key city roads.
Mr Khan’s controversial expansion of the low emission zone to outer London will drag millions more into its orbit in a bid to cut air pollution.
Sadiq Khan is understood to have set a target of enforcing a million speeding offences in London every year
But Tory MPs have accused Mr Khan of ‘trying to create a hostile environment for motorists’.
Gareth Johnson, whose constituents in Dover would be dragged into the low emission zone, told MailOnline: ‘There are loads of 20mph limits, cameras, the expansion of ULEZ – he is trying to make it as difficult as possible to drive in London.
‘It is not about air pollution otherwise he would ban all cars. He does not want to ban them, just make money. Provided you can pay £12.50 a day, you can drive as much as you like.
‘He is just trying to fix the black hole in his finances. It will be catastrophic for people in Dartford who need to go into London to help with public services. The border between London and Kent is at the end of some people’s roads. People will be hit hard by this.
‘If he is not making enough money, he will move the goalposts and increase the number of vehicles under the scheme. He has not got a mandate for this.’
Mr Johnson also warned of an ‘exodus’ of emergency service workers if Mr Khan proceeds with the plans.
He added: ‘He has got the Met and London Fire Brigade in special measures and yet he is pointing it in the direction of drivers rather than the problems London has.
‘Half of Met Police officers live outside of London. If they are doing a night shift then they will be hit twice by ULEZ.
‘There is going to be an exodus of police and emergency workers – it is as serious as that.’
Louie French, Tory MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, also joined politicians in slamming the the London Mayor’s ‘out of touch’ assault on motorists.
He said: ‘The Mayor of London’s core objectives are to keep London moving and to keep Londoners safe. With the Metropolitan Police and London Fire Brigade in special measures under his watch and Transport for London requiring over £5bn in bailouts from the Government and taxpayers, it is clear that Sadiq Khan has failed miserably.’
Meanwhile, Tony Devonshire, deputy chair of the London Assembly Environment Committee, claimed the expansion t will make almost no difference to air quality in the capital.
Mr Devonshire told LBC: ‘The ULEZ zone in central London was initiated by Boris Johnson and brought in by Sadiq Khan and works, but outer London is bigger and very different.
‘The reality is that the Jacobs Report, which is a TfL report and Sadiq’s own, said one thing – there is no change, virtually nothing at all, to air quality. This is not an air quality issue, this is a stealth tax. That is all it is.
‘Sadiq has put council tax up by 57 per cent in seven years. This is yet another tax, as is the congestion charge and many, many other things. Sadiq Khan needs to listen.
‘He should listen to his parliamentary colleagues and the Labour borough leader who has also come out against this, he should listen to Londoners – 80 per cent of whom in his own consultation said no to this.
‘There is no legitimate mandate. If he wants to bring it in, he can bring it in at his next mayoral election in his manifesto and try and get elected.’
But there are also growing signs of unrest among Labour MPs at the shifting of the boundaries, with four voicing their opposition to the scheme yesterday.
Shadow Treasury minister Abena Oppong-Asare, fellow frontbencher Seema Malhotra, Jon Cruddas and Siobhain McDonagh all broke cover yesterday.
The number of drivers caught speeding in the capital jumped to 443,609 from April last year, new figures have revealed
This TFL map shows the proposed speed limits on London’s roads
Then and now: These TFL maps show the 20mph zones in London (left), compared to last year (right). Green depicts 20mph roads
Sadiq Khan is facing growing fury over his ‘out of touch’ assault on motorists with warnings he will turn London into a haven for rich people who work from home
Their disapproval was echoed by former long-serving Labour MP Stephen Pound, who represented Ealing North for 32 years.
Mr Pound called on the expansion to be delayed and criticised the data used by City Hall as evidence to support the scheme.
He said: ‘It is a very, very significant issue we have in London. When you have people like Seema Malhotra, Jon Cruddas and Siobhain McDonagh – real loyalists – when they are saying there is an issue then quite clearly we need to talk about it.
‘Where Sadiq does have a problem is that some of the data, for example the outer borough data for Bromley saying they have a higher death rate, well they actually have a much older population in Bromley.
‘Also, the higher and lower quartiles in some of the data were specifically chosen so the higher quartile was there. Ultimately, the thing about LTNs (Low Traffic Neighbourhoods_ and ULEZ is that it is not about driving people around in circles, it is about alternative ways of getting around.
‘My son is an electrician and he moves around in a van. He couldn’t take his kit on the E2 bus, so I’m very much in favour of the idea of bringing this in much more slowly. I do [think it should be delayed]. August is right around the corner.’
Meanwhile, Tories have railed at ‘ideological’ measures, questioning the concept of 15-minute neighbourhoods, and insisting residents are becoming ‘frustrated’ at constant roadworks.
MPs argue that the mayor’s proposals are geared towards ‘people who either work from home and don’t have to go anywhere, or if they do have to go anywhere can afford an Uber or a cab’.
Some have claimed that the moves will merely displace polluting traffic and create more pinch-points on the edges of restrictions, while those who have to travel will pay the price.
After the congestion charge was introduced there was evidence that nitrogen dioxide levels actually increased due to increase bus and taxi use – although more electric vehicles have been introduced since then.
Mr Khan has flatly denied he is waging war on motorists, pointing out that half of Londoners don’t own a car and he has a duty to tackle ‘poisonous air’.
Transport for London (TfL) confirmed on Monday it is pushing ahead with plans to reduce the speed limits on 137 miles of roads by next year – saying evidence showed it would save lives.
The body is responsible for London’s strategic road network, which makes up around 5 per cent of London’s 9,190-mile network, but carries 30 per cent of the traffic.
Currently, 68 miles of TfL roads have 20mph speed limits, including everywhere inside the congestion charge area.
Most changes will be from 30mph to 20mph, but there will also be cuts from 40mph to 30mph.
It said a study of zones before and after they had 20mph limits found fatal collisions fell by 25 per cent.
The ULEZ is expanding to all outer London boroughs from August, but looks to be causing increasing nerves among Mr Khan’s own side.
Shadow Treasury minister Ms Oppong-Asare saying: ‘My concern is we don’t want to be in a situation where people are going to be worse off.’
This Google traffic map shows the typical traffic at 8.15am on a Tuesday morning – with amber representing heavy tailbacks and dark red depicting stationary traffic
Ms Malhotra said: ‘Whilst I share the goal of reducing pollution and increasing air quality, I am very concerned about the economic impact the current roll-out plans will have on residents and small businesses.’
The Feltham and Heston MP warned the plans will have a ‘disproportionate effect on lower income families and the self-employed who use their vehicle for work’.
Jon Cruddas, MP for Barking and Dagenham, said he was ‘deeply disappointed’ about the policy and his representations had ‘fallen on deaf ears’.
‘Dagenham and Rainham is home to many low-income workers who rely on their personal vehicles,’ he said.
Long-serving Labour MP for Mitcham & Morden Siobhain McDonagh also reportedly expressed doubts about the scheme.
Former minister Bob Neill told MailOnline: ‘I think the penny is dropping how out of touch he is with outer London seats.
‘I think they are starting to feel the heat.
‘It’s a sign that the message is getting through even to Labour MPs: this is just an attack on outer London.’
Bromley & Chiselhurst MP Sir Bob said Mr Khan’s policies were focused on ‘people who either work from home and don’t have to go anywhere, or if they do have to go anywhere can afford an Uber or a cab’.
‘It shows how totally out of touch he is with ordinary working people in London.’
‘It is just this very aggressive anti-motorist stance. We all recognise there are some areas where 20mph is appropriate, because it’s near a school or a care home or something like that.
‘But what we’re really trying to move to is a blanket 20mph by default. In parts of outer London that is simply not appropriate.
‘It’s ideology getting in the way of common sense.’
He warned that the capital’s policies were likely to spread to other parts of the country. ‘If they can get away with it in London, London is being used by some on the left as a test bed.’
Tories said they were hearing complaints about temporary traffic lights and roadworks
Sir Bob said: ‘What’s significant is that Starmer has not been coming out condemning it… they are happy to let Sadiq get on with it whatever the cost to ordinary Londoners.’
Sir Bob said he was hearing complaints about temporary traffic lights and roadworks. ‘A lot of people are getting very frustrated. It all seems to be part of an agenda to make life more and more difficult for motorists,’ he said.
‘What works in outer London is completely different from what works in inner London. And even in inner London there are a lot of people who are not well-heeled, they need to get about to do jobs quite often at anti-social hours.
‘We had a daft suggestion from one Labour person that workmen could take their tools on the Tube.
‘If you’re doing building jobs it is ridiculous. This is all the stuff of people who have never done those sort of jobs in their lives.’
Louie French, Tory MP for Old Bexley & Sidcup, tweeted: ‘Be in no doubt, public outrage and people power is now forcing Labour MPs to come out against Sadiq Khan’s #ULEZ tax raid on drivers in outer London.’
Tory former leader Iain Duncan Smith told MailOnline: ‘More and more councils, Labour included understand the the ULEZ expansion to all of London is a fraud… it will have no real effect on air quality.
‘It will cause financial hardship. It is a tax hike pure and simple to bail him out.’
Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond told MailOnline: ‘Khan is yet again ignoring what Londoners have said and want.
‘The ULEZ expansion is being rushed and will hurt many lower income Londoners.
‘Khan’s tax will force some people out of work. London needs a properly thought out air quality scheme not this botch job.’
But a source close to Mr Khan said: ‘The Mayor has been clear the decision to expand ULEZ was not an easy one, but necessary to protect the health of Londoners and tackle the climate emergency. Health experts agree toxic air is a public health crisis. Polluted air is stunting the lungs of children, leading to life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, dementia and asthma, and resulting in around 4,000 Londoners dying prematurely every year.
‘Over four fifths of vehicles in outer-London are already ULEZ-compliant. You can check your vehicle on TfL’s vehicle checker. However, the Mayor recognises that some people will need support moving to cleaner vehicles. That’s why he has invested £110m in the UK’s vehicle scrappage scheme to support lower-income Londoners and small businesses.
‘Tackling the climate crisis is the defining issue of our times and cleaning up London’s air is central to that. The Mayor urges all politicians to prioritise the health of Londoners and the lives of future generations over short-term politics, and to avoid joining the ranks of the climate action delayers. We need to take action if we are to build a fairer, greener future.’
Mr Khan mounted a staunch defence in an open letter to critics this week, saying toxic air led to the premature deaths of 4,000 Londoners each year.
He said: ‘Research by Imperial College London shows Bromley has the highest premature deaths linked to air pollution with an estimated 204 lives lost in 2019.’
But Bromley Council leader Colin Smith said the study commissioned by City Hall ‘chose to ignore Bromley’s much older population profile’.
He said many elderly residents spent ‘their younger years in inner London experiencing the smogs and smoke-filled pubs of yesteryear’. He added: ‘It is complete nonsense.’
A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: ‘These councils are denying the science in order to justify their opposition to clean air policies.
‘The air quality data used by City Hall is completely robust and is based on the most accurate scientific investigation into the human cost of poor air from globally renowned experts at Imperial College London.’
In July 2020 Mr Khan was asked at City Hall what he was doing to make progress on 15-minute neightbourhoods – a concept where residents can live, work and access services within an easy walk of their home.
‘Londoners are spending more time closer to home. They want their neighbourhoods to be welcoming, healthy and sustainable, not clogged up with traffic and pollution,’ he said.
‘London’s recovery must be an inclusive green recovery that enables all Londoners to walk and cycle around greener neighbourhoods and support their local high streets.’
Sadiq Khan’s slow London: Where are the proposed new 20mph areas?
EXISTING 20MPH ROADS:
These roads had their speed limits reduced on 31 March 2022:
- A10 Great Cambridge Road between the Great Cambridge roundabout and White Hart Lane will be reduced from 40mph to 30mph
- A23 in Croydon from the junction with Green Lane to the junction with Alma Place will be reduced from 30mph to 20mph
- A10 High Road from the Bruce Grove junction with The Avenue to Olinda Road, including A503 Monument Way from the A10 to the Ferry Lane junction, will be reduced from 30mph to 20mph
- A107 Clapham Common from the junction with the A10 past Homerton High Street, which is already a 20mph zone, to the junction of the A102 Kenworthy Road with B113 Wick Road will be reduced from 30mph to 20mph
- A13 Commercial Road between Whitechapel High Street to Butcher Row will be reduced from 30mph to 20mph
- 12.8km of red routes we manage in Westminster. These roads include, but are not limited to: A501 Marylebone Road, A41 Park Road – St Johns Wood Road, A5 Edgware Road, A4 Knightsbridge, A202 Vauxhall Bridge Road, A302 Grosvenor Place and A4202 Park Lane
PROPOSED 20MPH ROADS:
- Hackney + Haringey
- A503 Sevem Sisters Road, A10 Stamford Hill + Stoke Newington Road, Rectory Road
- A1 Holloway Road, A503 Parkurst and Tollington Road, Seven Sisters Road
- Tower Hamlets
- A1293 The Highway, + East Smithfield, A11 Mile End Road + Bow Road
- A3204 Kennington Lane, A3 Kennington park Road, A3 Clapham Hill, A3 Clapham Northside, A24 Clapham Common South Side, A3 Clapham Road, A202 Camberwell New Road, A23 Brixton Road, A203 Stockwell Road, A205 Poynders Road + Christchurch Road + Thurlow Road, A23 Streatham Hill, A23 Streatham High Road, A214 Tooting Bec
- A201 New Kent Road, A100 Tower Bridge Road, A200 Jamaica Road, A2 Old Kent Road, A202 Camberwell NEw Road, Camberwell Church Street and Peckham High Street, A205 Dulwich Common
- A2 New Cross Road, A202 Queens Road, A20 Lewisham Way, A20 Lee Hiigh Road, A205 Stanstead Road + Catford Road + South Circular Road
- Finchley Road, A5025, A5, Marylebone Road, A501 Old Marylebone Road, A41 Park Road, Gloucester Place, Baker Street, A5 Marble Arch, Cumberland Gate, Bayswater Road, A4202 Park Lane, Brook Gate, Picadilly, Grosvenor Place, Lower Grosvenor Place, A3215, A3214, A3123, Wilton Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road
- Kensington and Chelsea
- Brompton Road, Cromwell Road, A3220, Edith Grove
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk