Read Harrow Council Leader Cllr Osborn's letter to Michael Gove MP below:
Since taking control of Harrow Council from Labour in May 2022, our residents have made it clear to me how much they oppose the expansion of the ULEZ by Sadiq Khan. This was also shown by the victory in Uxbridge & South Ruislip last month.
You will no doubt be aware that Harrow worked alongside Hillingdon, Bexley, Bromley and Surrey Councils to bring Sadiq Khan’s decision before a Judicial Review. While, disappointingly, the High Court did not support our challenge, I remain firmly of the view that the ULEZ expansion is a punitive stealth tax on Harrow’s poorest and most vulnerable motorists.
Unlike every other London borough, Harrow does not have any TfL roads, so the Council alone is responsible for all public roads in the borough. Therefore, we find it particularly unfair that we are having this deeply unpopular scheme forced upon us against our will.
I would urge that you seriously consider accepting Lord Moylan’s amendment (see enclosed) or a similar amendment to the Levelling Up & Regeneration Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords. Lord Moylan’s amendment would give us, as a London borough, the ability to object to the Mayor’s approach to ULEZ. Stopping this expansion would help us to reduce the pressure on our more vulnerable residents through the current cost of living challenges.
I understand the reluctance of central government to overrule the Mayor of London when it has devolved a power to him. However, devolution doesn’t end at City Hall. This is why I’m asking for us to be given the power to properly reflect the wishes of our residents. London is a very large city and has many different and distinct parts, this is why a one size fits all policy is not appropriate.
To be clear, I support improving air quality both in Harrow and London as a whole. Last month Harrow’s Cabinet agreed plans to quadruple the number of new electric vehicle charging points in the borough. We feel the Mayor would be better off spending the hundreds of millions set aside to fund the ULEZ expansion on improving the underground and bus fleet, as well as supporting Councils to upgrade local infrastructure and public facilities.
Cllr Paul Osborn