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Surrey Councillors Say No to ULEZ Signs on County’s Roads

Published on: 2 Feb, 2023
Updated on: 4 Feb, 2023

By Emily Coady-Stemp

local democracy reporter

Surrey councillors say they could stop Transport for London (TfL) putting signs on the county’s roads ahead of the planned Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion.

Surrey County Council’s leader said the authority would “stand its corner” on the expansion “blindly going ahead” as he called for more conversation between the London Mayor’s office and the authority.

The ULEZ sees drivers of certain cars charged £12.50 per day to enter it, and is currently in place in central London where Transport for London (TfL) claims there has been a reduction in nitrogen dioxide pollution by nearly half.

The zone is set to cover all of Greater London from August, meaning it will border Surrey in council areas such as Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, and Spelthorne.

Cllr Matt Furniss

But Cllr Matt Furniss (Con, Shalford), the county council’s Cabinet member for transport, infrastructure and growth, told a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday (January 31) that TfL would need a legal agreement with the council to put anything on the county’s roads.

Cllr Furniss said he had written to the Mayor of London and TfL, setting out the council’s “absolute disappointment” that the plan would go ahead without “meaningful conversation” on how Surrey residents would be affected.

He said he had told officers to stop any discussions on the location of signs on the county’s roads until “a grown-up conversation has happened between the two authorities on mitigating the disruption and the financial cost to Surrey residents.”

Cllr Tim Oliver

The council’s leader, Cllr Tim Oliver (Con, Weybridge), said “any conversation would be a good start” claiming there had been “no dialogue at all”.

He told the meeting: “We do have the legal opportunity to prevent the Mayor of London putting signage on our highways and we will forcefully make that point to them.

“We will stand our corner on this.”

Surrey’s councils were given the chance to respond to a consultation on the ULEZ expansion in 2022, with Elmbridge, Tandridge and Spelthorne, among others, submitting responses.

They called variously for a delay to the expansion, an expansion of the scrappage scheme offered to London residents to include Surrey car owners and the expansion of the zone 6 Oyster card zone.

A map showing the London Congestion Charge, Ultra Low Emission and Low Emission zones. An expanded ULEZ would cover the area currently under LEZ. Please click on image to enlarge

Cllr Furniss said the county council had put forward ten points to TfL that should be considered if the scheme were to go ahead.

These included exemptions for taxis and key workers, corridors to NHS facilities near the border and extensions to public transport into Surrey, among others.

The expansion is due to come into place from August 29 this year.

Conservative boroughs within Greater London are also objecting to the expansion.

See: ULEZ expansion: London mayor gives councils Thursday deadline.

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Responses to Surrey Councillors Say No to ULEZ Signs on County’s Roads

  1. Paul Robinson Reply

    February 2, 2023 at 3:30 pm

    “Cllr Furniss said he had written to the Mayor of London and TfL, setting out the council’s “absolute disappointment” that the plan would go ahead without “meaningful conversation” on how Surrey residents would be affected.”

    Oh the irony, considering the lack consultation with Burpham residents on the London Road scheme.

  2. Anthony Mallard Reply

    February 2, 2023 at 3:50 pm

    At last, something I am able to agree with SCC about. In the light of the lack of consultation regarding the London Road scheme perhaps, the comment of Cllr Furniss about his “‘absolute disappointment’ that the plan would go ahead without ‘meaningful consultation’ on how Surrey residents would be affected” and Cllr Oliver’s comment, “Any conversation would be a good start,” claiming there had been “no dialog at all,” are a bit rich!

  3. Wayne Smith Reply

    February 2, 2023 at 8:17 pm

    ‘The council’s leader, Cllr Tim Oliver (Con, Weybridge), said “any conversation would be a good start” claiming there had been “no dialogue at all”.’

    In light of their well reported lack of communication with GBC (not to mention us pesky residents!) regarding the proposed London Road Cycle Lane scheme, how ironic that SCC should now suffer the same fate from the Mayor of London and TfL !

  4. Keith Francis Reply

    February 2, 2023 at 8:39 pm

    The ULEZ will greatly impact on staff and visitors to the Wildfowl & Wetlands site at Barnes. Instead of going by car, try getting there from Guildford using public transport, ie two trains via Clapham Junction and then either a long walk or wait around for a bus using, if you have one, a bus pass.

  5. Mark Bray-Parry Reply

    February 3, 2023 at 9:47 am

    Comments supporting SCC are here also raising opposition to the London Road cycle lane. People are opposing two concepts, clean air zones and active travel, that have been proven to improve air quality, and for what gain?

    We really need a shift in public mindset to understand the importance of active travel routes and reducing car use. If we had been pursuing such policies a decade ago, the M25 junction 10 expansion and associated environmental destruction would not be happening. The same goes for isolated developments dependent on cars such as at Wisley airfield.

    It is a fallacy that you can oppose measures to reduce car use while deriding the consequence of ever-increasing car dependency. I hope this fact is realised sooner rather than later.

  6. John Lomas Reply

    February 3, 2023 at 10:20 am

    I know it is slightly north of Guildford Borough, but a quick check for Driving Test Centres nearest to Epsom shows that all three nearest ones are inside Greater London so this ULEZ is also likely to have a financial impact on other people in Surrey as well as the ones mentioned by Keith Francis.

    This is also going to have similar affects on the all the other counties bordering Greater London..

  7. Anthony Mallard Reply

    February 4, 2023 at 9:37 am

    Mark Bray-Parry asserts that to oppose the impact of the London Mayor’s ULEZ in Surrey is to also to disagree with and attempt to prevent the concepts of clean air zones and active travel.

    Nothing can be further from the truth. The adoption of clean air zones is vital to the health and well-being of everyone but it won’t be achieved by poorly thought through and inappropriate schemes that will increase standing traffic and congestion and thus raise vehicle-generated pollution, nor will active travel be embraced by communities until public transport is improved and affordable. And, I should add, provided by means of eco-friendly vehicles.

    At present, SCC’s proposals in Burpham meet neither of these important criteria. Public transport is unreliable, and for many unaffordable; standing traffic, caused by the narrowing of the available road width, will inevitably increase pollution, especially and importantly at the level of children who walk to the two schools.

    • Mark Bray-Parry Reply

      February 4, 2023 at 1:26 pm

      ULEZ has successfully reduced air pollution, Nitrogen Dioxide in particular. This is particularly noteworthy for Guildford since the A3 section through Guildford has one of the highest Nitrogen Dioxide levels in the country. Far from ULEZ expansion to all of Greater London being an “inappropriate scheme”, further ULEZ schemes, including Guildford, would be most welcome in protecting the public from harmful pollutants which evidence is increasingly showing have life-threatening effects.

      As for the London Road cycle scheme, it is true that there would likely be a short-term increase in standing traffic. However, in combination with a series of local and national policies, we can see rapid modal shift. In order to deliver on the potential of such schemes as the London Road cycle lane, I would also like to see:

      – Subsidised public transport (capped fares + free travel for school children & accompanying adult).
      – Restrictions in car parking around all schools, with parking limited to staff and blue-bagde holders only plus no-idling zones.
      – Assessment of potential low traffic neighborhood (LTN) schemes, focussed on areas high density residential areas around schools (eg Burpham).

  8. David Harris Reply

    February 4, 2023 at 10:18 am

    Good to know that the man who wrote the book on proper consultation, Cllr Matt Furniss, is calling the shots on this one.

    Dear God, are we all trapped in a BBC2 sitcom?

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