Tories vow to reverse ULEZ expansion if they win the general election

The Tories have vowed to reverse Ulez if they win the next election (PA Wire)
The Tories have vowed to reverse Ulez if they win the next election (PA Wire)

The Conservatives have vowed to reverse the Ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) expansion if they win the general election.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has promised to push through a “Backing Drivers Bill” in the first parliamentary session after the July 4 election, which would also stop pay-per-mile road taxes and rule out blanket low traffic neighbourhoods.

Mr Sunak has argued the Conservatives “are the party on the side of drivers” claiming that Labour has launched a war on drivers in London.

Announcing plans for the bill, the Prime Minister said: “We have a clear plan to keep motoring costs under control and ensure people have the freedom to drive as they need to lead their daily lives.

“We will empower drivers and local residents to challenge aggressive and punitive traffic-inducing measures, like low traffic neighbourhoods that were imposed without local consent.

“That’s the clear choice in this election – between Labour who have launched a war on drivers in London and Wales, and our clear plan to give drivers the freedom they need to build a secure future for themselves and their children.”

The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan expanded the Ulez to cover all of Greater London in August 2023 but the Tories have claimed this means thousands of people “can now no longer afford to get to hospital appointments or where they work or study”.

Mr Khan has insisted he is not “anti-motorist”, and has ruled out making any further changes to the Ulez.

In his first Mayor’s Question Time session since winning re-election in May, Mr Khan said “I’m well aware that the Conservatives tried to portray me during the [mayoral election] campaign as being anti-motorist - and that was a theory and a thesis rejected by Londoners on May 2.

“I’m not anti-motorist. I am in favour of cars driving where they can at 20mph rather than 30mph. Why? Because you’re five times more likely to kill somebody and cause them serious injury if you’re driving at 30mph rather than 20mph.”

The Conservatives have argued that unnecessary restrictions to drivers have made travel harder for people and curbed their freedoms.

The party has claimed local Labour politicians are exploring pay-per-mile road taxes which could charge drivers depending on how far they drive, what time of day and what car they use.

The Tories have said they are committed to investing £8.3 billion of funds redirected from HS2 to repair roads and fix potholes, including an extra £235 million on London roads.

Mark Harper, Transport Secretary, said: “We will continue to build on our clear plan for drivers and make sure they are supported in the face of Labour politicians desperate to tax them off the roads.

“We will reverse Sadiq Khan’s unfair ULEZ expansion and rule out any blanket 20-mile-an-hour zones because we are on drivers’ side. And we will rule out any pay-per-mile road tax to keep costs for drivers down.

“There’s a clear choice at this election – Labour who will continue to penalise drivers or the Conservatives who will back drivers.”

Commenting on the Conservatives’ drivers’ plan, a Labour spokesperson said: “This is desperate stuff from a government that has run out of road.

“The Conservatives' abysmal record on drivers is there for everyone to see. Britain has 100 times more potholes than craters on the moon and car insurance costs are out-of-control.

“Labour is on the side of drivers. We will tackle rip-off car insurance costs and break down planning barriers to ensure transport infrastructure is delivered and delivered on time.

“And we will leave decisions on safe school streets and local traffic measures to local communities - not politicians in Westminster.”