Mike Graham fumes over ULEZ extension
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In a post on Facebook, the Oscar-winning actor praised the announcement, saying the ULEZ expansion would have a dramatic impact on the health of Londoners. DiCaprio, who has 19 million followers on Facebook, is a passionate environmentalist and has used his fame to bring attention to climate change.
In 2018, the DiCaprio Foundation pledged $100million (£81.8million) to fight climate change, with a further $43million (£35.2million) in May 2021 to further conservation efforts on the Galapagos Islands.
In the post, he wrote: “London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand his flagship air quality policy, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will mean five million more people breathing cleaner air, and will help to build a better, greener, fairer London for everyone.
“This is the kind of large-scale, decisive action we need to halve emissions this decade, coupled with the implementation of nature-based solutions.
“The expansion of the ULEZ will reduce the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding interim World Health Organization (WHO) targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by 13 percent – including children at 145 schools.”
This is not the first time, the actor has praised Sadiq Khan for his efforts with the ULEZ, having Tweeted at him in 2019.
At the launch of the original, smaller ULEZ boundary, he congratulated the Mayor for “taking the lead on tackling air pollution in London”, adding that “clean air is a human right”.
The ULEZ will be expanded again on August 29, 2023, to include all areas within the North and South Circular Roads to the boundary of Greater London.
Most drivers with non-compliant vehicles will need to pay the £12.50 toll or face heavy fines.
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Within the first year after the expansion, Transport for London is expected to generate around £200million from the zone.
This revenue is expected to fall sharply in the following years as drivers switch to cleaner and more environmentally friendly vehicles.
In response to Mr DiCaprio’s support, Nick Rogers, transport spokesperson for the GLA Conservatives, fired back, criticising the actor.
He said: “A millionaire in California who regularly travels by private jet might not understand the devastating cost of living impact Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion will have on people.
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“But Londoners do, which is why an overwhelming majority voted against it in the consultation and the latest YouGov polling.
“Given the overwhelming reaction from Londoners against this decision, it is clear that Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ plans have hit an iceberg and not even Leonardo DiCaprio can save him. The Mayor must listen to Londoners and U-turn.”
Air pollution contributes to in excess of 9,400 premature deaths every year in London, and costs the NHS between £1.4billion and £3.7billion per year.
A recent YouGov poll showed that Londoners support the expansion of the ULEZ. Fifty-one percent of the 1,245 adults surveyed were in support, while 27 percent were in opposition.
The mayor also announced that the Greater London Authority would be setting up a £110million scrappage scheme to help people replace their polluting cars.
Anyone using the scheme will be given a credit towards buying a less polluting vehicle, as well as be given the option of a free travel card.
Four of London’s outer boroughs have vowed to do anything they can to resist the ULEZ expansion which will affect their area.
Hillingdon, Harrow, Bexley and Croydon councils have announced their opposition to the scheme, citing poor public transport links.
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