Chipping Barnet MP Faces Public Outcry as Advocacy Groups Rally for Expanded Ulez on Clean Air Day

Chipping Barnet MP Faces Public Outcry as Advocacy Groups Rally for Expanded Ulez on Clean Air Day

…By Lola Smith for TDPel Media.

The Conservative MP for Chipping Barnet, Theresa Villiers, expressed her opposition to the expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) during a parliamentary session.

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Prime Minister Rishi Sunak supported her stance.

However, on Clean Air Day, various advocacy groups, including Mums for Lungs, Mothers CAN, and Barnet Friends of the Earth, organized a protest outside Villiers’ office in support of the London-wide Ulez.

The organizers urged Villiers to collaborate with them in efforts to improve air quality in Barnet.

The Urgent Need for Clean Air in Barnet:

Local mother and organizer Sara Hall emphasized the poor air quality in Barnet, particularly along the route her son takes to school, which includes crossing the North Circular.

Hall highlighted the harmful effects of air pollution on children’s health and stressed the necessity of expanding the Ulez as soon as possible.

Concerns about Villiers’ Anti-Ulez Stance:

The protesters expressed concern over Villiers’ participation in an anti-Ulez protest where she posed alongside someone holding a sign stating ‘STOP THE TOXIC AIR LIE.’

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They emphasized that clean air should be a universally popular cause and called for Villiers to engage with the public, constituents, and community organizations to understand the benefits and support available through the Ulez expansion.

Appeal for Support and Scrappage Scheme Funding:

The parents and children present at the protest handed a letter supporting the Ulez to a staff member at Villiers’ office.

They requested Villiers to advocate for additional funding for the scrappage scheme, ensuring that small businesses, low-income families, and charities in Barnet do not face financial penalties due to the Ulez expansion.

Villiers’ Response and Criticism:

Villiers, in response to the protest, reiterated her commitment to improving air quality in her constituency but questioned the effectiveness of the Ulez expansion.

She cited an independent impact assessment that concluded the expansion would have a negligible impact on pollution, both environmentally and in terms of public health.

Villiers distanced herself from the ‘STOP THE TOXIC AIR LIE’ poster, stating that it was not provided by her.

She clarified that the event she organized was a public protest where various opinions opposing the Mayor’s plan for new driving charges were expressed.

Assessment of the Ulez Expansion’s Impact:

Villiers’ assertion that the expanded Ulez will have a negligible impact on pollution refers to an official assessment report conducted by Jacobs, an independent firm.

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The report stated that the proposed scheme would result in minor reductions in average exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5) for the population of Greater London.

City Hall has responded to this by emphasizing the importance of understanding the absolute impact of the Ulez expansion in terms of reducing emissions.

Conclusion:

The controversy surrounding the expansion of the Ulez in Chipping Barnet highlights the divergent views on its effectiveness in improving air quality.

While Villiers and some constituents express skepticism about the scheme’s impact, the protest organized by advocacy groups emphasizes the urgency of addressing air pollution and calls for collaborative efforts to combat it.

The debate continues as stakeholders strive to find the most effective strategies for achieving clean and healthy air for all.

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