A Kent MP is introducing a bill in parliament aimed at overturning the controversial expansion of London's ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ).
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has described the daily charge as an “unfair tax” on working people which “hits the poorest hardest”.
The Tory backbencher argues the £12.50 fee, levied on non-complaint vehicles driving in and out of the capital, is undemocratic as people in Kent were not able to have a say over it but are directly impacted every day.
The Mayor Sadiq Khan defended his decision which he says was difficult but “necessary” in order to tackle London’s toxic air causing premature deaths.
Now, three months after its latest expansion, Mr Johnson has tabled a private members bill – a public bill introduced by MPs and Lords who are not government ministers – in the hoping of reversing the decision.
He said: “The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan has no mandate for this.
“Expanding ULEZ was not in his manifesto or in his transport strategy and the consultation on the expansion showed that people did not want it.
“It impacts people in Kent and other counties around London who cannot vote in or out the London Mayor. It’s a taxation without accountability.”
The Tory MP added: “It punishes those on lower incomes who can least afford to buy a newer car to avoid the daily charge. There are also no guarantees the standard for meeting the ULEZ threshold will not be changed in the future to include more vehicles.”
The ULEZ expansion has meant any motorist in the new area, with a vehicle which did not comply to the regulations, would need to pay a £12.50 daily surcharge.
Before the expansion, 70,000 motorists in Kent were slapped with a £90 fine for driving into London’s ULEZ before it was expanded pocketing Transport for London more than £6 million. The transport body says all money raised is pumped back into transport improvements.
The London Mayor’s plans were met with opposition when it was first introduced with Dartford Council leader Jeremy Kite calling it a “terribly, terribly unfair thing” in January.
There was also a High Court challenge against the expansion led by a coalition of councils representing the outer London boroughs but this was defeated in July.
In October campaigners urged Transport secretary Mark Harper to use his legal weight to force a “revision” of the London Mayor’s plans.
Mr Johnson is set to present his Greater London Emission Zone Charging (Amendment) Bill to the House of Commons where it will get its first reading.