£240k of ULEZ fines for Havering
If you thought ULEZ wasn't going to hit you in your pocket, because you have a compliant car, think again.
I've received information that shows Havering Council will be spending up to £240k a year, of taxpayer's money, on paying ULEZ fines.
This is because the council owns and operates a large fleet of vehicles, of which quite a few are non-compliant.
We're going to see even more service cuts in our borough, to pay TFL.
Below, I outline the fleet information and cost, as well as how this will impact Havering.
Just like you and I, councils will have to pay ULEZ on their non-compliant vehicles. There's no special exemption for them.
Havering has sent me a list of their fleet and it contains 202 vehicles. 75 vehicles in the fleet are non-compliant. The rest either are, or have an exemption (such as passenger transport).
So what vehicles are not compliant?
Mostly, it's the fleet linked to ground's maintenance. The Transit cage vehicles make up a lot of the list, as do vans used by housing. There are 2 motorcycles in the fleet, used by Bereavement Services. A small number of Fiestas make up the rest of the naughty list, which are used by Asset Management.
Of the 75 vehicles, all are in service. 4 are awaiting 'disposal'.
The compliant part of the fleet contains ride on mowers (yes, even they have to comply), a road sweeper, and of course the Mayors £50k Ford Mustang Mach E (electric).
All of Havering's non-compliant vehicles appear to fall under the lower end of ULEZ fines. This means that they will be fined £12.50 a day. Havering's calculations, as passed to me, presume that these are used every day. This means that each vehicle will receive around £270 a month in fines, amounting to just over £3k a year.
In total, Havering expects to be paying around £1000 a day to TFL. £20k a month, £238,650 a year.
That's your council tax, going straight into TFL.
Bear in mind, you also already pay the Mayor of London a premium on top of your council tax. Also bear in mind, your council tax has already gone up by the maximum available.
The estimates are that the non-compliant part of the fleet would cost around £2.4m to replace. Based on the purchase and lease costs. And who will buy the old, non-compliant, vehicles?
So what does this mean for Havering's finances?
Unprepared and unwilling
Our new Administration, led by Labour and the HRA, has been in for a year now. They didn't get to set their first budget (April 2022), but they set the one just gone.
The new budget does not contain any provision for paying ULEZ fines. So, despite fully expecting ULEZ to be implemented, they failed to consider if they'll have to pay fines and set nothing aside. They were totally unprepared, as well as totally lacking in their fight against ULEZ.
If the council end up paying £240k a year in fines, they will spend more than they budgeted for. This means more borrowing or cuts to services. The other option, of course, is that the council spends £2.4m replacing their fleet. There's no cheap way out of this.
Thanks Mayor Khan! Thanks HRA!
In our alternative budget, Conservatives proposed to set aside £300k to either fight ULEZ or to meet ULEZ costs. This would have covered the fines and would mean that there was no hole in the budget.
The HRA and Labour seem unwilling to fight and unprepared for the impact.
I wonder if this sudden realisation of £240k of fines is why the parking permits 'accidentally' doubled in price, to the tune of £250k... It'd be wrong of me to presume. Perhaps it was just two separate financial mistakes.
Given the Leader's recent statement, that reversing the price-hike will leave Havering with a £250k hole in the budget, I've asked if that will now rise to £500k (including the ULEZ fines.)
If one presumes all the councils, who are facing ULEZ expansion, have the same cost then this will cost London up to £4m a year.
What can we do?
Ultimately, I want ULEZ scrapped. I'll keep fighting for that by revealing it's impact.
A number of the Conservatives' candidates for Mayor have said they would ditch the scheme. However, first they need to win the mayoral election. ULEZ will already be up and running by then.
I also think that if the Mayor is so set on implementing ULEZ, there should be en exemption for the council's fleet. I know some people get angry at that suggestion, "why do the council get exemption?". Here's my thought process.
The council receives all of it's money from council taxes. These can't be put up by more than 5% and they already did that. It means they have nowhere else to get the money from. We're also facing a tough situation with public finances. Government support, for households, is at record highs and the money is running out fast. There isn't much more money available for councils.
If the money was there, then this is a way for Mayor Khan to take an extra £4m of funding without being allocated it.
You will have no choice but to pay this. Council tax isn't optional and you can be in serious trouble if you don't pay it. Everyone pays it.
Everyone, whether they have a compliant car or not, is going to be paying for ULEZ.
I believe that we have an air-pollution problem, across the UK. However, I don't think ULEZ is the way to resolve this. ULEZ is going to cost £300m to set up and TFL's own report says that the impact will be pretty much 0.
There are better, more effective, ways to clean up our air-pollution problem.
The Conservatives proposed alternatives in their report, Every Breath You Take: Better ways to clean up London's air (cityhallconservatives.com)