Calls for ULEZ exemption for disabled people

Published: Monday 1 March 2021

Cllr Johnny Thalassites and Action Disability Kensington and Chelsea have written to Transport for London and the Mayor of London to request an exemption to the new extended Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) for disabled people. Read the letter in full below.

Dear Mr Khan 
Lack of Blue Badge exemption for the ULEZ 
As you know, the Council has supported the Ultra Low Emission Zone and in particular its extension to include the whole of Kensington and Chelsea, for several years, and I look forward to seeing its introduction deliver real air quality gains on our most polluted streets. However, I am writing to you today about an issue that has been raised recently by the Council’s Mobility Forum, regarding the lack of exemption for Blue Badge holders for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). As the ULEZ is soon to be extended to Kensington and Chelsea in October this year, this issue is becoming increasingly important to many of our residents who rely on Blue Badges for essential journeys. 
There is currently an exemption for Blue Badge holders (whether as a driver or a passenger) from the Congestion Charge Zone but no similar exemption for the ULEZ. Our Mobility Forum raised with us the negative impact that this apparent anomaly will have on Blue Badge holders who are passengers who rely on lifts in friends’ and relatives’ cars. Some of these friends and relatives may live outside the expanded ULEZ and be less likely to own a ULEZ-compliant vehicle. The consequences for such Blue Badge passengers will be that they or the driver will incur a substantial daily charge or that they may not be offered a lift anymore from the person with the non-compliant vehicle.   
I am concerned that although TfL carried out an Equality Impact Assessment for the extended ULEZ, the issue of Blue Badge holders travelling as passengers in other people’s vehicles does not appear to have been explicitly considered as this information was not in the Integrated Impact Assessment for the extended ULEZ scheme. My officers have raised this with Transport for London (TfL) officers and have been told that whilst TfL will explain their rationale, there is no intention to change the status quo. I am therefore writing to you to request that you ask TfL to revisit this decision.  
I look forward to hearing from you. 
Yours sincerely 
Johnny Thalassites, Lead Member for Planning, Place, and Environment, and The ADKC Access Group