After years of talking and argument the Ultra Low Emission Zone was expanded on Monday to an area covering the north and south circular roads.
The project is something of a flagship for London Mayor Sadiq Khan. With its introduction, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps appeared on talk radio to criticise the move.
But hang on, didn’t he insist upon it as part of TfL’s finance agreement last year?
'If this is not a money-raising scheme, I don't know what it is.'
— LBC (@LBC) October 25, 2021
A letter to TfL in October 2020 included a passage which quite clearly states the Conservative government and Department for Transport’s position on the Congestion Charge, LEZ and ULEZ:
That isn’t a passage calling for delays or to not enact it, so it’s quite disingenuous for Shapps to now tour Tv and radio studios to state something else.
JULY 2023 UPDATE: It’s now being expanded further. Grant Shapps is still touring studios saying one thing despite previously asking for another.
There’s other passages in government correspondence with TfL including this in June 2021 that leave little doubt ULEZ had to be extended:
In effect they’re saying you have to do it.
Shapps got away with his claims on the radio as LBC presenter Iain Dale didn’t scrutinise him.
How Dale didn’t know is a mystery, as Shapps’ position has been clear for some time that they’ve insisted on an expanded ULEZ to anyone paying attention.
Though Shaun Bailey claimed otherwise. Just one day after Shapps had insisted on an expansion he claimed this:
The wider issue is that TfL have been forced to move to a funding position heavily reliant on fare income compared to many other major world cites and then saw fare income fall due to a pandemic. They then got blamed for it and pretty much ordered by government to act to raise revenue including expand ULEZ.
That’s not to say Sadiq Khan doesn’t support ULEZ. He posed for PR pictures on Monday.
Yet this government and Shapps were also fully behind it, despite what a Minister now states on talk radio.