Parliament is back from the summer recess and has continued its work scrutinising important Government legislation ahead of its prorogation at the end of October. After this, the King will come before parliament to deliver the first King’s speech of his reign.
Delivered at the State Opening, this speech will open the fourth session of this parliament; likely the last before the next general election. Before the State Opening, the Government will look to pass any outstanding legislation. This includes the landmark Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill that has been fiercely debated in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. I am glad that this Bill has received such scrutiny, in part because several colleagues have sought to use this Bill to pave the way for the ULEZ expansion to be reconsidered.
Under the Greater London Authority Act, the Mayor has sole jurisdiction over road charging schemes in London. An amendment that I support – tabled by Lord Moylan – would require each London borough to consent to such a scheme operating within their borders. This, in theory, would allow Hillingdon and Harrow to object to the scheme’s usage locally if the councils passed such a motion.
Readers will know that the expansion of the scheme is now in place and that we are now seeing the impact that it has. It will not come as a surprise to those reading that I am still opposed to the policy of expansion. As I have said in the past, it has little impact on air quality, doesn’t have the support of local residents and does little to tackle the actual causes of air pollution in our area of London.
As the local MP, I am keen to play my part in tackling the issues of congestion and encourage a culture shift when it comes to travel. While I do not have access to funding like the Mayor does, I want to work with local communities to drive change. In the coming months, I will engage with residents to see what we can do to promote active travel and lessen the impact of congestion on roads. I know that Hillingdon and Harrow are also looking at such work.
First published: My Local News, October 2023