London Mayor Accused of Stifling Dissent Over Emissions Zones
Newly-released emails show the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressuring a scientist to downplay a study released which showed that London's Ultra-Low Emissions Zones program has a negligible effect on pollution.
Newly-released emails show the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressuring a scientist to downplay a study released which showed that London's Ultra-Low Emissions Zones program has a negligible effect on pollution, leading some to question the Mayor's office's relationship with the scientists it funds.1
The emails show Khan's environment and energy deputy, Shirley Rodrigues, telling Imperial College London researcher Frank Kelly that the mayor's office was "really disappointed" the college decided to release a study questioning the effectiveness of the zones.2
One of several email exchanges between Rodrigues and Kelly details the researcher vowing to "fight back" against the study challenging the effects of the plan to improve air quality in London by levying a per-day charge on vehicles that don't meet emissions standards.3
Kelly is the director of the college's Environmental Research Group, which has received hundreds of thousands of pounds from the City of London. The Conservative Party has accused Kelly the mayor's office of having "an alarmingly cosy relationship."4
The study in question, from the college's Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, found that the Ulez program only cut nitrogen dioxide by less than 3%. The emails show frequent contact between Kelly and Rodrigues to promote the program.2
A spokesperson for Khan's office denied that there was any interference with the college's research. The program's expansion to every London borough by the end of August has been faced with political opposition and unsuccessful legal challenges.3
Right narrative, as provided by Auto Express. These findings give proof to what people have known all along: Ultra-Low Emissions Zones are nothing but a cash grab and are not supported by science. Cash-strapped Londoners could see an added expense of thousands of pounds a year imposed on them amid a cost-of-living crisis. This policy needs to be reversed, as Sadiq Khan's Labour Party will seemingly stop at nothing to fleece citizens with this faux-green guise.
Left narrative, as provided by The Guardian. What Khan's office has done is not improper — it was merely providing feedback on the next steps in the process. Air pollution is a killer, and the government needs to take action to keep Londoners healthy. This program is a step in the right direction and will help tackle the scourges of climate change, pollution, and a looming health crisis over dirty air.