Boris Johnson clashes with Leonardo DiCaprio following Sadiq Khan’s decision to target motorists by expanding the LondonUltra-lowemissionzone (Ulez).
In a letter to the Telegraph, the former Prime Minister and a group of Tory MPs slam a smash raid on drivers ‘by the Mayor of London following his decision to extend a low-emissions zone across Greater London The charge will mean that thousands of drivers will have to pay 12.50 a day because their vehicles don’t meet minimum pollution standards.
The intervention pits Mr Johnson against Mr DiCaprio, the star of films such as Titanic, Catch Me If You Can and The Beach.
The Hollywood A-lister took to social media to praise Mr Khan for expanding Ulez, saying:[It] will mean five million more people breathing cleaner air and helping to build a better, greener and fairer London for all.
This is the kind of large-scale decision-making action we need to halve emissions this decade, coupled with the implementation of nature-based solutions.”
It is not the first time that Mr DiCaprio has backed the Labor mayor of London in his ambition to reduce pollution in the capital. In 2019, he praised Mr Khan for taking the lead in tackling air pollution in London,” adding: “Clean air is a human right.
Mr Khan, whose book “Breathe: Tackling the Climate Emergency”, is due out in May, was quick to thank Mr DiCaprio, saying it was great to have his support.
Other signatories to the letter opposing the Ulez expansion include Mr Johnson’s former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith; former Transportation Secretary Chris Grayling; and the current London minister, Paul Scully.
Some 60% of respondents to a public consultation opposed Mr Khan’s plans to expand Uleza across Greater London.
In the letter, which was co-ordinated by Orpington MP Gareth Bacon, MPs said Mr Khans’ decision was undemocratic and a hammer blow to household budgets.
Mr Johnson announced plans to implement the world’s first low-emissions zone in London in 2015 when he was the capital’s mayor. He has since opposed Mr Khan’s plan to expand the area, first to the northern and southern circular roads and now within sight of the M25.
MPs said: TheUlez never intended to apply outside of London. This is a smashing raid on drivers’ wallets that has nothing to do with air quality and everything to do with Khans mismanagement. [Transport for Londons] finance. And it comes at the worst possible time for household incomes.”
Despite insisting he would not go ahead with the Ulez expansion if there was overwhelming opposition, Mr Khan told the Telegraph last week: I don’t did not call a referendum; it was a consultation.
He also revealed plans to roll out a network of Singaporean-style toll roads across London once drivers switch to electric vehicles. The Mayor of London has said road pricing will be introduced to replace congestion charging and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) levy which could use a network of cameras across the capital.
Mr Khan on Thursday reaffirmed his flagship Ulez policy as part of Transport for Londons business plan to invest £8.1 billion in London’s road and rail networks.
Improvements to the capital’s public transport system include replacing Piccadilly line trains with a new fleet that would have the ability to operate without a driver if the government approves funds to improve signals and platforms.
Mr Khan, chairman of TfLs, has repeatedly clashed with Westminster over the rollout of driverless Tube trains. Despite pressure from the government to consider implementing driverless technology, the mayor of London called the changes madness.
Nonetheless, industry sources told the Telegraph that City Hall officials are in regular conversation with bosses like Siemens – which builds Piccadilly Line trains – about upgrading signaling and installing screens on the platforms to make driverless trains a reality.
In addition, the business plan provided for 150 million per year until 2026 to be devoted to the construction of new cycle paths.
Meanwhile, officials have hinted that TfL may accept sponsorship of London Underground stations – a central part of Conservative mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey’s unsuccessful bid last year.
The business plan stated, “We are introducing revolutionary new ways to work with brands. This includes innovative brand activations on the Underground, creative collaborations using our globally recognized symbols, and managing the filming of Hollywood blockbusters across the network.
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