ULEZ-style zones in Yorkshire could harm Labour in region, Tories warn

Yorkshire Tories have suggested that “clean air zones” in the county could cost Labour votes at the next general election following the unpopularity of London’s low emissions scheme.

Yesterday the Conservatives defied expectations and held on to Boris Johnson’s old seat of Uxbridge on the outskirts of London, with many voters taking the opportunity to vote against the unpopular Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) scheme run by Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London.

The scheme, originally announced by Boris Johnson in 2015, requires drivers to pay a fee if they use a highly polluting vehicle, and is planned to be extended by London’s mayor following negotiations with the Government over transport funding.

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However, the scheme has proven largely unpopular with the public, particularly those on the outskirts of the capital who drive into the city for work.

Sheffield Clean Air Zone came into force on February 27Sheffield Clean Air Zone came into force on February 27
Sheffield Clean Air Zone came into force on February 27

Similar schemes that have been launched in Yorkshire have been repeatedly criticised by local politicians, the Tory MPs telling The Yorkshire Post that they believe schemes in and around Labour-run cities could cost Sir Keir Starmer votes at the next general election.

Drivers in Bradford have been fined more than 60,000 times for failing to pay clean air zone charges during its first six months of operation.

Jason McCartney, the Colne Valley MP, said: “It’s really going to hit small local businesses - these Labour run councils just aren’t listening to local people.”

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Meanwhile in Sheffield, council officials have admitted that there have been “teething problems” for businesses dealing with the extra costs that they face with the charge.

South Yorkshire Tory MP Alex Stafford said: “The Sheffield zone is hated across the border here in Rother Valley and needs to be scrapped. It's really hitting businesses.”

New polling from YouGov found that half of the public (51 per cent) are now opposed to ULEZ-style charges in their local area, including 36 per cent who are strongly opposed to them.

This represents a 9 point increase in opposition since the last time the public were polled in June 2021 when two in five (42 per cent) were opposed to them.