• Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith backs Ulez camera ‘blade runners’
• Mark Harper: Gov’t will back amendment to opt out of TfL schemes
• Sadiq Khan argues Ulez is about air quality, not money
Conservative MP and former party leader and Government minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said that he supports the ‘blade runners’ who are disabling Ulez cameras in London. He believes that the people of his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency have been lied to and are facing an imposition they don’t want. Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said he would stop the rollout of Ulez if he had the power to do so, and highlighted his reservations about the true motives behind the expansion. He also said that the Government will be backing an amendment to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill to make changes to the 1999 law that created the role of Mayor of London.
Sadiq Khan countered that the Ulez rollout is not about the money and won’t make the air appreciably cleaner. However, some believe it is the latest move in the global war on the motorist and the crazed scramble to ‘cut emissions’ at the expense of humanity.
Two blank lines
Conservative MP and former party leader and Government minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said he backs the ‘blade runners’ who are disabling Ulez cameras. The Mail has more.
Usually he prides himself on being tough on crime, but the former cabinet minister said today he was ‘happy’ for the residents of his Chingford and Woodford Green constituency to destroy cameras because they have been “lied to”.
Sir Iain said: “A lot of people in my constituency have been cementing up the cameras or putting plastic bags over them.
“I am happy for them to do it because they are facing an imposition that no-one wants and they have been lied to about it.
“The actions you are seeing show how angry people are at what is being imposed on them. Sadiq Khan has gerrymandered all the information – people have had enough.”
Since his comments were first published, Sir Iain told the Evening Standard that “I do understand the frustrations of the people in my constituency who are being hit by these charges and who feel like they are not being listened to by the mayor. These sort of actions show how angry people are. But I don’t condone law breaking of any kind.”
It’s notable that no one besides Khan seems willing to defend the scheme or even state their opposition to the vandalism of the cameras. At this point it feels like it’s Khan versus the whole of London.
Meanwhile, the Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, told GB News this morning that he would stop the rollout if he had the power to do so and highlighted his reservations about the true motives behind the expansion.
I don’t have the power to stop it coming into force. That’s a decision for the Mayor of London backed by the Labour leader. I think he should think again.
He says this has to do with air quality, his own impact assessment says this will only have a minor to negligible effect on air pollution.
It’s not about air pollution, it’s about a money-raising exercise and this is absolutely not the time to be putting all those costs on hard-pressed and hard-working Londoners and those in the area outside London.
What Harper didn’t mention, though, is that the reason he doesn’t have the power to stop it is because the Government’s lawyers have said it would be contrary to the Government’s own policies on air pollution. That’s despite the impact assessment showing it will have a negligible impact on air quality! In truth, the Government could challenge it if it wished, either by changing its own policies (perhaps via legislative amendment) or by arguing that the impact is too negligible to contravene its commitments.
Harper also told LBC’s Nick Ferrari programme that the Government will be backing an amendment to the Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill to make changes to the 1999 law that created the role of Mayor of London. According to the Mail:
Under the amendment, brought forward by Tory peer Lord Moylan, London boroughs would be able to opt out of future Transport for London (TfL) clean air schemes if they are meeting air quality targets.
The Transport Secretary said: “One of the problems here is that a number of London local authorities don’t support this scheme coming into force, so for the future, we are backing an amendment, a backbench amendment to a piece of legislation which will mean in future any road user charging schemes like this would have to be also backed by London boroughs.
“And that’s important because if you look at the Mayor of London’s own website for his Project 2030 scheme, he wants to roll out more road user charging schemes, pay-per-mile schemes across London.”
Sadiq Khan countered on BBC Breakfast this morning that it wasn’t about the money:
This is about helping our air be cleaner. In a couple of years’ time, TfL has predicted there will be no additional money made because the number of non-compliant vehicles (will decrease).
But if it’s not expected to make money and it won’t make the air appreciably cleaner, what’s the real motive for forcing through such an electorally disastrous policy? Could it be because, as highlighted in yesterday’s Daily Sceptic, Khan is Chair of C40 Cities, an organisation committed to “reducing car ownership” and cutting travel by car? Is it, in other words, the latest move in the global war on the motorist and the crazed scramble to ‘cut emissions’ at the expense of humanity?