Tag Archives: Zone

ULEZ expansion is lawful – confounding both Rishi Sunak AND Keir Starmer

Cleaning up London’s air: the ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emissions Zone) will affect fewer than one in 10 cars but may deliver a remarkable improvement in air quality.

The High Court has delivered a timely message of support for measures to defeat global warming – by supporting London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s bid to extend the ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emissions Zone) to all of the capital’s boroughs.

Five Conservative-led borough councils had launched a legal battle to stop the extension but in what’s being described as a “landmark” ruling, Lord Justice Swift said he was “satisified” that the proposals were in the London Mayor’s “powers”.

The measure currently covers only areas within the North and South Circular Roads, but the ruling opens it up for extension to all of London’s boroughs from August 29.

It isn’t spectacularly extreme; to avoid the charge, diesel cars must generally have been first registered after September 2015, while most petrol cars registered after 2005 are also exempt.

Drivers of vehicles passing through the ULEZ area that do not comply with emissions standards are charged a daily rate of £12.50.

The decision is a blow against Rishi Sunak’s Tories, after their winning candidate in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last week, Steve Tuckwell, said the vote had been called a “referendum on ULEZ”.

Opposition party leader Keir Starmer also clashed with Mr Khan over the policy.

Here’s what Mr Khan had to say about the ruling on TV:

He also published a statement:

Here’s a pertinent comment:

That’s the important take-away from this storm-under-a-petrol-cap: fewer than one-tenth of vehicle owners will be affected by the ULEZ expansion.

That means both Labour and the Tories have been flinging blame about nothing.

It also means that Keir Starmer needs to find another excuse for his loss in London, if he still wants to deflect attention away from his own failings as an Opposition party leader.

#AndyBurnham hammers Tory hypocrisy

Andy Burnham: he’s Mayor of Greater Manchester and he knows the reasons for every political policy being enacted there.

Here’s a great clip highlighting the Conservative government’s hypocrisy towards local government.

It’s from last Thursday’s (February 17) edition of the BBC’s Question Time. The issue here is Clean Air Zones (CAZs) but could be applied to any number of local policies, as Mr Burnham rightly states in the video.

Have a look, and a listen:

So the Conservative government imposed a requirement for local authorities to improve air quality – but it did not supply the necessary funding, and it has been campaigning against the measures that have been introduced under the conditions it created.

Rank hypocrisy. It stinks.

With local elections coming up in May, we should be asking questions about these policies.

Do you have a local issue that upsets you – in which you think conditions imposed by the authorities are unfair?

Do you know which authorities imposed those conditions? Were they brought in by local councillors or imposed by a central government that made extravagant demands but provided no help?

If so, you’ll know that the one thing you don’t need at local government level is a lot of Conservative councillors who will make matters worse.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.


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Zones of growth – thoughts on how to improve Mid Wales’ economy

Many of you may be aware of the proposal to create ‘Growth Zones’ in Powys – at Brecon, Llandrindod Wells and Newtown – roughly equivalent to the new Enterprise Zones created by the government elsewhere in the UK. My opinion is that these are a good idea. The Welsh Government has put out a call for evidence on the proposal and information can be found on its website here.

Unfortunately, the deadline for entries is June 1. I’m writing this on May 28 so, if you want to make a submission, you need to act fast!

What follows is my own submission. I want people to see what I’ve put forward because I think it might help them in shaping their own thoughts. I’m not saying it’s perfect because I hope others will have different or better ideas; I’m putting it up in the hope that it will stimulate your imagination, and the Welsh Government will get better submissions as a result.

I would also appreciate your comments and suggestions – just use the form at the bottom.

Here’s my submission:

All three possible locations must be able to compete with the Enterprise Zones that have already been announced, therefore the features common to all of those should be included here. These include: Government support to ensure super-fast broadband, achieved through guaranteeing the most supportive environment and, if necessary, public funding; low levels of regulation and planning controls; a 100 per cent business rate discount over a five year period for businesses that move into a Growth Zone during the course of this Parliament (although I recommend a graded scheme to reintroduce business rates thereafter, alongside a graded penalty scheme for businesses that choose to move away once the discount is removed); all business rates growth within the zone for a period of at least 25 years will be retained and shared by the local authority to support its economic priorities; and Government and local authority help to develop radically simplified planning approaches.

I believe funding should be provided for an office that would help film makers (cinema or television) find locations within Powys. Llandrindod Wells would be the best location (as it is in the centre of the county). Powys has breathtaking natural beauty that has gone unused by film makers, simply because nobody knows about it. A film locations office would bring income to landowners whose land would be used, and to residents who could be hired as ‘extras’ during filming.

Material I have read on Enterprise Zones has categorised them in certain ways, stating what tax breaks, planning controls and broadband levels might be possible, along with a line called ‘Sector Focus’, declaring what businesses should be encouraged into the zone. I would recommend:

Tax break: Save businesses money in foregone business rates.

Planning: Simplified regime permitted the change of use of existing buildings.

Broadband: Explore delivery of superfast broadband with suppliers.

This leaves the ‘Sector Focus’. I would like to propose several possibilities as follows, based on my knowledge of local industry and the possibilities that could be accommodated here in Powys:

Sector focus: Green technologies; Advanced technologies; Movable skills (small businesses that could benefit from working in a rural setting); sustainable agriculture (farming techniques that are beneficial to the environment); creative industries; energy sector (carbon-free/green).