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 includeda passage which quite clearly states the 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 studios to state something else.
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 you have to do it.
Shapps got away with his claims on the radio as host LBC Iain Dale didn’t question.
How Dale didn’t know is a mystery as the government and Shapps’ position has been clear for some time to anyone paying attention.
TfL have been forced to move to a funding position heavily reliant on fare income compared to other major world cites, then see fare income fall due to a pandemic, get blamed for it then pretty much ordered by government to do something before being held responsible alone.
It was evident during the Mayoral election when the Conservative candidate Shaun Bailey would regularly make claims while his own party in Westminster did the complete opposite.
That’s not to say Sadiq Khan doesn’t support ULEZ. He posed for PR pictures on Monday.
Yet Westminster and Shapps were also fully behind it, despite what a Minister now states on talk radio.