Which one better protects the vulnerable?
The cash strapped Conservative Harrow Council, which cannot afford decent street cleaning or weed removal from pavements, is spending an estimated £400,000 (according to local media) on legal fees to take on Transport for London (TfL) over its plans to extend the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to the whole of greater London. It wants Harrow excluded from the zone.
This is a waste of our money and a waste of the council tax we pay towards Greater London which will have to defend the issue. The only people who are rubbing their hands with glee are lawyers.
Win or lose, Harrow runs the risk of being again (the previous Labour administration were already on the naughty step) the loser when it comes to TfL money. TfL will find reasons not to give funding to Harrow.
Our view is that “clean air is vital to the whole community,” and especially so to children who do not have the vote. Pollution kills. And just because the pollution is invisible, it does not mean it is not deadly.
And even if the council wins, it will be pyrrhic. Besides TfL putting its cameras up on traffic lights and elsewhere, all this could do is to move the border. Already, those with polluting cars and vans are charged within the North/South Circular Roads. They could end up facing a charge when going into Brent, Ealing and other near-by boroughs.
The Tories claim they support clean air but are fighting a measure which endeavours to improve air quality. That risks our children’s very lives.
LibDems have throughout campaigned for a way forward which will deliver better health yet retain the support of the minority who still own polluting vehicles.
LibDem members of the London Assembly argued for a package doubling the size of the scrappage scheme with an additional £100 million and allowing Blue Badge holders to apply, as well as investing £25 million in bus services in Outer London, including demand-responsive buses such as Go Sutton Bus, but this was thown out by the Mayor.
Harrow Tories are making much of “poverty” and the “cost of living crisis”. But they and their allies in Westminster helped cause this.
We urge Harrow Tories not to grandstand and enrich lawyers at Harrow Council Taxpayers’ expense but to try to find a sensible compromise for the good of the health of all.