Redbridge Council backs £12.50-a-day charge on polluting cars driving through borough

Redbridge Conservatives said the plans will target the poorest residents. Picture: Ken Mears

Redbridge Conservatives said the plans will target the poorest residents. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

A £12.50 charge imposed on drivers of polluting cars passing through parts of the borough will not be challenged by Redbridge Council.

The council’s Labour administration rejected calls from the Conservative opposition to write to Mayor Khan urging he reconsider the extension of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) to areas of Redbridge.

The motion – put forward by Conservative leader councillor Linda Huggett – was beaten by 48 votes to 11.

“It will affect Redbridge poor, the elderly and the less well-off,” said Cllr Huggett.

“The motion we are seeking is for cross-party support, as indeed Enfield have already done, to write to the mayor, and say ‘we are not against his proposal but he should reconsider the extension’.

“We don’t think it is the most effective way of doing it.”

Vehicles will need to meet new, tighter exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge of £12.50 for cars, vans and motorcycles and £100 for buses, coaches and lorries.

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In 2021 the charged area is planned to expand to parts of Redbridge – predominantly in western parts of the borough such as Wanstead and Woodford – and drivers using the A406 will be expected to pay.

Cllr Huggett said that, under the plans, employees of Whipps Cross Hospital may have to fork out up to £62.50 a week.

It will also hurt poorer families, she said, who drive their children to school but are unable to upgrade their cars before 2021.

“I do not want to see a poor man’s tax imposed on our residents,” she said.

Cllr John Howard, cabinet member for civic pride, rebuked these claims.

“The point of ULEZ is to take the most polluting cars off the street - to promote new cars rather than old bangers.”

He added: “If they are really so concerned - why won’t their government fund a proper diesel scrapping scheme?”

He argued that ULEZ would also make the areas around schools safer by reducing traffic and congestion.

Lab Cllr Beverley Brewer said that one in 14 deaths in the borough are “now linked to air pollution”.

“Why does this motion have nothing to say about air pollution?

“I hope that by 2020 no residents will have to pay because of this.”

Conservative Cllr Michael Stark said that while supporting the charge in principle, he would have to oppose the ULEZ based on “how the line has been drawn”.

“When I was young in 1900-and-frozen-to-death we used to look at Leyton and Wanstead as one area,” he said.

“Residents are now going to have to pay £12.50 every time they pop over a little line.”

Does your car meet the ULEZ standards?

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