Louie French, Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, has called for an urgent review of the impact that closed roads are having on the traffic situation in London.
Speaking during a debate on road closures at Westminster Hall, French raised concerns over the increasing traffic and emissions resulting from these closures and called for a reassessment of the policies implemented by Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Highlighting the issue of air pollution in the capital, French emphasised the need for measures that encourage improvements in emissions rather than penalising drivers. He questioned the motives behind the road closures, and argued that the closures, along with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), have failed to improve traffic and have instead made London the slowest city to drive in globally.
Drawing attention to the inconsistencies in the Mayor's actions, French pointed out the increase in private hire vehicle (PHV) licences being issued while Khan actively promotes his book which promotes clean air.
The call for an urgent review echoes the frustration felt by many Londoners who are experiencing worsening traffic conditions despite the implementation of various schemes. The review, if ever conducted, might shed light on the effectiveness of current strategies and pave the way for more impactful measures to address congestion and emissions in the capital.
Louie French, Conservative MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, said: “With traffic having been highlighted as one of the main causes of air pollution, there needs to be an urgent review of the impact of the Mayor’s road closures on increasing traffic and emissions across London. By pure coincidence, I am sure, those closures have also raised millions in fines for Labour councils in central London. Like ULEZ, they are clearly designed to penalise drivers rather than encourage improvements in emissions. I will highlight another unwanted statistic for the Mayor: London is now the slowest city in the world to drive in, despite the congestion charge and ULEZ. These schemes are not working. Traffic in the capital is getting worse.
“While the Mayor of London is out trying to sell his new book, he is issuing more and more licences for private hire vehicles. The inconsistencies are stark wherever we look. The Mayor does not like to talk about it, but we have already heard about the last Labour Government’s proposals for the purchase of diesel vehicles. When Sadiq Khan was the Transport Secretary at the end of their time in government, he was also in favour of Heathrow expansion. He does not like to talk about that either. One of his most fundamental policies and investments during his mayoralty is the Silvertown tunnel, which will encourage many more people to drive through east and south-east London and increase the number of vehicles on the road—something that the campaigners against Silvertown tunnel like to point out.
“We will not take any lectures from Sadiq Khan on air quality. His days are numbered; we have figured him out. Next May, Londoners across the capital have the opportunity to kick out this failing son of a bus driver, and ensure that they have people in charge who can get our great city moving again and make it safe for us all to live.”