ULEZ: Exemption for Blue Badge holders voted down
Joe Talora, LDRS
- Credit: GLA
The London Assembly has voted down a motion calling on Sadiq Khan to introduce an exemption for Blue Badge holders driving through the Ultra-Low Emission Zone.
Currently, owners of vehicles which do not meet minimum emissions standards are only temporarily exempt from the £12.50 daily charge until 2025 if their vehicle is tax classified as “disabled” or a “disabled passenger vehicle”.
But thousands of disabled drivers are still liable to pay the charge if they drive an older vehicle that does not have the correct tax classification.
At a meeting of the London Assembly on Thursday, Conservative Assembly Member Nicholas Rogers proposed a motion that called on Sadiq Khan to exempt all Blue Badge holders from having to pay.
Mr Rogers said: “It’s about protecting some of London’s most vulnerable residents.
"Disabled Londoners are often more reliant on their vehicles to move about the city, and they frequently face up against a public transport network that is often inaccessible.
“While some Londoners on the highest levels of disability benefits are exempt from ULEZ, the rules are complicated and exclude the vast majority.
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"It would be fairer and simpler to exempt all Blue Badge holders from the ULEZ just as they are from the Congestion Charge.”
The motion was voted down, however, with Labour and the Liberal Democrats voting against it while the Conservative and Green Party groups voted in favour.
Labour’s Dr Onkar Sahota accused the Conservatives of tabling a “wrecking motion”, adding that “it wrecks the Mayor’s initiative to improve the air quality in London”.
Dr Sahota said: “Disabled people, more than able-[bodied] people, need good quality air and this motion is too course an instrument to give any targeted relief to them.”
Liberal Democrat member Caroline Pidgeon, whose group also voted against the motion, said that “this motion does raise a serious issue” but that “actually, this is a really complex area and the motion does not address that”.
She said: “Back in 2019, TfL did a study that showed disabled Londoners are less likely to have household access to a car than non-disabled Londoners.
"Drivers of vehicles registered under the disabled tax class or disabled passenger tax class will not have to pay the ULEZ charge until October 2025."
Even if the motion had passed, the London Assembly has no binding power of the Mayor of London and therefore could have only recommended it.