ULEZ: Extraordinary Meeting
On Wednesday 30th August Havering Council held a special meeting to debate ULEZ. The meeting was requested by Havering Conservatives and the East Havering Resident's Association, who form the opposition.
The date was selected by the HRA Mayor and many of us were confused as to why it was scheduled for after ULEZ was implemented. Far from being ' strategically timed' by Conservatives, as some suggested, it was viewed as an poor decision.
However, I argued that it was not too late and that we still had choices. I believe we must continue to fight. We must also start our fight against TFL's Pay Per Mile proposals .
I am pleased to say that the HRA and Labour coalition barely tinkered with our motion. They, of course, removed a part where we condemned the Mayor for ULEZ. However, the agreed to three asks we had;
1) To oppose Pay Per Mile
2) To remove any illegally erected ULEZ signage
3) To support residents in applying for exemption and scrappage
I'm pleased to say that the chamber was, finally, united. Thanks to our motion, we secured a joint agreement for action.
We wish this agreement was reached last year, when I tabled a motion against ULEZ. But, it is never too late to work together for the good of our residents.
Watch my speech below, or read the transcript.
I want to start by thanking you for agreeing to this extraordinary meeting of the council.
I am also grateful to the East Havering Resident’s Group for pushing for this meeting.
We would, of course, have wanted this meeting earlier and there are many of us who were quite confused as to why this evening was chosen as the date.
To the public, it looks like we’re trying to lock the door after the horse has bolted.
Madam Mayor, I wish the meeting was earlier. However, it does not make this evening pointless.
Havering’s residents are angry. They are not just angry at the Mayor of London, they are angry at all of us here in this chamber. All political sides.
They feel let down, betrayed, and they feel like they have been used in political games. This is not good enough.
They feel this for a good reason. Because each and every one of us could have done more in the fight against the regressive, damaging, dictatorial policy that is the Labour Mayor’s ULEZ expansion.
So, why bother with this evening? Why not just all go home and hang our heads in shame?
Well, because we still have a chance to show the public that we will fight for them.
Tonight, Cllrs will have a chance to sit silently and say nothing, to mindlessly tow a party line, play cheap politics, or to stand up and actually say what they think about ULEZ.
Tonight, is a chance for reflection and a chance to commit to continuing the fight.
This brings me to the motion.
Madam Mayor, many in this chamber have spoken out about the pain ULEZ will cause. We campaigned for the Labour Mayor to stop his ULEZ expansion. Or, in the case of the Leader, called for it to be delayed.
It is therefore only right that, when he goes ahead anyway, we condemn the Mayor for doing so.
It is not enough to only make a noise before something happens, we must continue to fight after it happens.
We are not down and out, the Mayor of London won’t stop here and neither must we.
Madam Mayor, our motion starts with a clear message. The people of Havering condemn the Mayor of London for expanding ULEZ to our borough.
We do so because it is going to hurt people, because it is the wrong thing to do, and because he has failed to listen.
And, Madam Mayor, we MUST condemn him so that others know they would be foolish to continue down this path.
We’ve seen the emails from Labour to the Leader. They ask him to go soft on the Labour Mayor. They talk of building a good relationship with him.
Well how is that going? Does he even know where Havering is? Has he given us anything?
The experiment is over. Khan isn’t interested in working with or for Havering.
We must be bold. We must condemn him and the leader must write to him and inform him that we are not going to accept pay-per mile.
That’s why we need to be here tonight.
One horse may have bolted, but there is a whole herd of them heading for the door and we must slam it shut.
Madam Mayor, a TFL Pay Per Mile scheme will simply be another tax.
Another example of the surveillance state growing, another attack on our freedoms and a tax on movement.
We’re seeing app-only parking, cashlessness, more and more examples of government control and we mustn’t allow it.
I am a Conservative. I believe the government should get out of people’s way and give them liberty.
Our motion makes a clear ask for the Mayor of London to invest into public transport and active travel infrastructure in Havering.
Across Holland, only 4 cities have a scheme even close to being as strict as ULEZ. Yet, people chose alternatives to cars.
They are not forced to, they chose to. The mayor of London must give people more choices in how they travel and stop punishing people who have no choice.
London must become known for our fantastic transport links, for our green spaces, for personal freedoms.
Let’s be known for what we give to people, not for what we take away from them in the form of new taxes.
This evening, Havering can and should start the fight against Pay Per Mile. We can and should condemn the Mayor for his actions. We can and should commit to removing illegal signage, we can and should support our residents, RAs can and should put their residents before their coalition with Labour.
Madam Mayor. It’s not too late, not for what we’ve proposed in our motion.