Ulez 'nightmare' in just seven days as Rishi Sunak races to find way to block Sadiq Khan's plan

Sadiq Khan (left) and Rishi Sunak (right)

Ulez 'nightmare' set to begin in just seven days as Rishi Sunak races to find way to block Sadiq Khan's plan

Jack Walters

By Jack Walters

Published: 23/08/2023

- 07:32

Updated: 23/08/2023

- 08:59

Residents with non-compliant vehicles across Greater London will need to pay the £12.50 daily levy from August 29

London's Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) nightmare is just seven days away as Rishi Sunak races to find a way to block Sadiq Khan's carbon-cutting plan.

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet colleagues were considering using a legal loophole to reject the Mayor of London's policy.

However, GB News' political editor Christopher Hope revealed last week that Government lawyers had warned ministers their legal challenges would fail in the courts.

No10 is now being urged to step in ahead of the major change on August 29.

A Ulez signThe Ulez is expanding on August 29 PA

"We have and continue to look at options but they are limited," a Downing Street source told The Telegraph.

"The people who could stop this tomorrow are the Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan and Sir Keir Starmer."

The previously considered legal loophole supposedly enabled Sunak's Government to reject City Hall's proposals if Khan's strategy was deemed "inconsistent with national policies".

Tory MP Craig Mackinlay was among the leading Conservative backbenchers to urge the Prime Minister to utilise the constitutional power to block the unpopular tax after the Uxbridge & South Ruislip by-election.


Rishi SunakRishi SunakPA

However, Government lawyers concluded the courts would likely consider the move an act of constitutional overreach as Sunak is also promoting air pollution improvement moves.

Despite Ulez potentially being in line with wider Government policy, Sunak urged Khan to "think twice" about the policy.

The Prime Minister also told drivers he was "on their side" following the Tory Party's surprising victory in Uxbridge & South Ruislip last month.

Sunak is facing pressure from Conservative MPs to ramp up efforts to block Khan's motorist tax.

Sadiq KhanSadiq Khan goes ahead with ULEZ expansion into the capital PA

Buckingham MP Greg Smith said: "Ulez is about much more than London.

"It hits my constituents in Buckinghamshire badly, too, just as other counties around London, but we have no say.

"That makes it perfectly legitimate for national Government to step in and stop this crazy, nonsensical, punishing idea from the Labour mayor."

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan-Smith added: "The Government should intervene and demand that before this can go ahead, there must be overriding evidence that this would make a major and significant difference to the environment.

"It’s a fundraiser, it’s nothing to do with the environment at all. It’s just a very simple attempt to get more money to be able to pay for the damage he’s inflicted on the capital since he took over.

A Ulez protestThe ULEZ expansion has been met with protests PA

"I'm up for anything the Government can do to stop this nightmare taking place."

The Ulez expansion has also been criticised as questions grow about whether the scheme will make a difference to children's health.

Queen Mary's primary care Professor Chris Griffiths was asked by London Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy Shirley Rodrigues if he could reword his study's conclusion after it found "no evidence" of health benefits to children’s lungs.

A spokesman from the Department for Transport said: "It is for the mayor to justify the Ulez expansion, and at a time when the Government is doing everything it can to support people with the cost of living, the Mayor is responsible for explaining whether it is fair to charge those with non-compliant vehicles £12.50 every time they drive in London."

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