As schools return and MPs return from summer recess, I am glad to have the opportunity to provide you with my regular column. Since my last column, the Uxbridge by-election has been concluded and Steve Tuckwell has already been busy supporting his new residents.
Those who followed the by-election will know that the focus of the campaign was on the Mayor’s decision to expand ULEZ, keep the police station open and rebuild Hillingdon Hospital. While I am delighted that the hospital is already scheduled to be redeveloped and the police station has been saved, readers will know that the Mayor has pushed ahead with the expansion of ULEZ.
I deeply regret that it has come to this and that the Mayor has not listened to residents across outer London who are overwhelmingly against this cash grabbing scheme. Over the last months, I have heard from many of my constituents who will be impacted from today onwards. It was made clear during last the Uxbridge by-election that this policy is deeply unpopular, and the Mayor would have heard that from his candidate in that by-election along with his own party leader who harboured concerns. By his own admission, this policy will not improve air quality in the capital, yet it will stop the most vulnerable from accessing vital services and unduly impact their daily lives.
We know that this is only the start of the Mayor’s plans to tax drivers in London. In Parliament, I raised this issue with Ministers who have heard from TfL that they have been instructed to implement additional road charging schemes within the coming years. I am grateful to the cross-party coalition of colleagues who have been vocal in their opposition in Westminster. With the help of Lord Moylan, there is an amendment tabled in the House of Lords that would give both Hillingdon and Harrow the final say over this matter.
While I will continue to work in Westminster to overturn this decision, everyone in London will have their chance to express their discontent in next year’s Mayoral election, and at that election I would urge my constituents to support Cllr Susan Hall who has promised to scrap the expansion on day one.