Complaint to Transport for London on ULEZ expansion

I find myself appalled at recent articles in the Telegraph, the Independent and the Daily Mail, that have shown Ms Shirley Rodrigues, deputy mayor of London, to have been interfering in the publication process of scientific papers assessing the effects of the LEZ low emission zone and ULEZ ultra-low emission zone.

In the case of the LEZ assessment carried out in 2018 by Professor Chris Griffiths of Queen Mary University, Ms Rodrigues asked Prof Griffiths to revise his conclusion that there was no evidence that the LEZ had produced any benefits to children’s health. Prof Griffiths, bravely and rightly, refused to do so. For science, when done properly, is an entirely honest affair. An honest scientific conclusion is what it is; and no amount of politics can change it.

That Ms Rodrigues already “had previous” on this charge renders even more serious her attempts to discredit the Imperial College scientists, who in 2021 published their finding that the effect of ULEZ on air quality had been only marginal. According to the Independent, Ms Rodrigues bullied Professor Frank Kelly, head of the Environmental Research Group at Imperial College, into issuing a statement that ULEZ had helped to “dramatically reduce air pollution.” This conclusion was in direct contradiction to the findings of his own team of scientists.

The conduct of Mayor Sadiq Khan, Ms Rodrigues and Prof Kelly over this matter is completely unacceptable for anyone funded by taxpayer money. Khan likes to brand those opposed to ULEZ as “conspiracy theorists,” yet here we have evidence of a deputy mayor and an academic conspiring to suppress the results of scientific research. All three of them ought to resign their posts, and should never be allowed to work for government again.

The ULEZ expansion is undemocratic, unfair and unnecessary. It is also enormously damaging, particularly to older or poorer people, who cannot afford either to pay the charges or to upgrade their cars. It must be cancelled immediately. If the Mayor will not do this, then the Secretary of State for Transport must step in and do it for him.

Link to the article in the Independent:

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