Starmer abandons plans for UK-wide ULEZ zones in blow to Khan’s authority

Following his party’s surprising defeat in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last month, Sir Keir Starmer has made a U-turn on plans to expand ULEZ-style low emission zones across the UK.

A draught of Labour’s policy handbook – a rough blueprint of what Sir Keir’s 2024 election platform was expected to look like – was leaked in May, outlining proposals to promote and expand clean air zones.

“Labour supports the principle of clean air zones and recognises the enormous damage to human health caused by air pollution and the damage to our climate caused by carbon emissions from polluting vehicles,” the handbook stated.

“However, they must be phased in carefully, mindful of the impacts on small businesses and low-paid workers, and should be accompanied with a just transition plan to enable people to switch affordably to low-emission vehicles.”

It’s now been revealed such proposals have been junked entirely, after Sir Keir said: “We are doing something very wrong if policies put forward by the Labour Party end up on each and every Tory leaflet.”

The Playbook suggestions to expand clean air zones were “scored out” at Labour’s last National Policy Forum, with the Conservatives expecting to make Labour’s anti-motorist policies a main electoral struggle next year.

According to a Labour source, the policy has been officially rejected and will not be included in the amended plans that will feed into the party’s manifesto.

Labour’s failed Uxbridge candidate Danny Beales remarked at the discussion that the ULEZ had “cut us off at the knees.”

The Conservatives successfully turned the by-election into a ULEZ referendum, defeating Labour by 495 votes against all odds.

Labour looks to be split on the issue, with Sadiq Khan and Labour-run cities like Newcastle, Bristol, and Birmingham supporting clean air zones.

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