Harrow Council responds to MP Gareth Thomas’ ULEZ query

Harrow Council would welcome an extension to London’s ultra-low emissions zone (ULEZ) but only alongside investment in the borough’s transport infrastructure.

Council leader Cllr Graham Henson and chief executive Sean Harriss responded to a query from Harrow West MP Gareth Thomas about expanding the ULEZ to Harrow.

The ULEZ charges drivers of high-polluting vehicles that drive within central London. It will be expanded in October 2021 up to the North and South Circular Roads.

Cllr Henson and Mr Harriss acknowledged the environmental benefits of further extensions but were adamant that it would require financial compensation to work effectively.

In a letter to Mr Thomas, they said: “We always welcome ideas and initiatives that help improve our air quality and the environment.

“While we would broadly support a decision by the Mayor of London to extend or introduce a ULEZ to Harrow, we would need assurance that a commitment could be made to invest considerably in public transport infrastructure.”

The council recently declared a climate emergency and plans to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Its leaders outlined several initiatives it is undertaking to improve the borough’s environment, including introducing fines for idling and encouraging people to travel on foot, by bike or on public transport.

There are also plans to make Station Road – between College Road and Sheepcote Road – an electric-only street by the summer by banning all non-electric vehicles.

Mr Thomas pointed out that research from the mayor’s office showed that 4,000 Londoners were hospitalised last year due to air pollution issues.

He added that there had been clear evidence of an improvement in air quality since the introduction of the ULEZ, with similar results in German cities with such measures.

“London’s air pollution is increasing people’s risk of heart and lung disease and asthma. Every child in London breathes toxic air daily, damaging their lung growth,” he said.

“I would be keen to understand the position of Harrow Council on the potential for introducing the ULEZ in the borough of Harrow and further appreciate its thoughts on what measures could be put in place to ameliorate harmful traffic pollution in the vicinity of our schools.”

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