DiCaprio in TITANIC war of words with Boris over London ULEZ expansion

Leonard DiCaprio in TITANIC war of words with Boris Johnson over London ULEZ expansion: Hollywood star heaps praise on Sadiq Khan’s ‘greener, fairer’ plan blasted by ex-PM as ‘smash-and-grab’ on drivers hit by £12.50-a-day fee

  • Boris Johnson is facing off against Leonardo DiCaprio over the Ulez expansion
  • Ex-PM has criticised Sadiq Khan’s ‘smash and grab raid on drivers’
  • TfL estimates that 160,000 cars will be liable to pay the fee once introduced
  • Mr DiCaprio praised Ulez as ‘necessary’ in fight against climate change

Boris Johnson has launched a war of words against Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio over Sadiq Khan’s decision to further penalise London’s motorists by expanding the capital’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez). 

The ex-Prime Minister has joined a group of Conservative MPs in slamming the Left-wing mayor’s ‘smash and grab raid on drivers’ following his decision to extend the low emission zone across Greater London.

Drivers whose cars have engines deemed not clean enough will have to pay £12.50 to go out for a spin under the plans.

Mr Johnson’s intervention sets him up against Oscar-winning actor Mr DiCaprio, who has praised Mr Khan’s go-ahead for the Ulez expansion – which effectively takes it up to the M25 motorway next August – as ‘the kind of large-scale decisive action’ needed to tackle climate change.


Boris Johnson has launched a war of words against Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio over Sadiq Khan’s decision to further penalise London’s motorists by expanding the capital’s ultra-low emission zone 

Drivers whose cars have engines deemed not clean enough will have to pay £12.50 to go out for a spin under the plans

In a Facebook post, the Hollywood star wrote: ‘London mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand his flagship air quality policy, the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez), will mean five million more people breathing cleaner air and will help to build a better, greener, fairer London for everyone.

‘This is the kind of large-scale, decisive action we need to halve emissions this decade, coupled with the implementation of nature-based solutions.

‘The expansion of the Ulez will reduce the number of Londoners living in areas exceeding interim World Health Organisation (WHO0 targets for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by 13 per cent – including children at 145 schools.’

Other signatories to Mr Johnson’s letter objecting to Ulez expansion include former Conservative leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith, ex-Transport Secretary Chris Grayling and Tory minister Paul Scully.

MPs branded Mr Khan’s decision ‘undemocratic and a hammer blow to households’ budgets’.

According to The Telegraph, the Conservatives said: ‘The Ulez was never intended to apply to outer London. This is a smash and grab raid on drivers’ wallets that has nothing to do with air quality and everything to do with Khan’s mismanagement of [Transport for London’s] finances. And it comes at the worst possible time for household income.’

In a Facebook post, the Hollywood star wrote: ‘London mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to expand his flagship air quality policy, the ultra-low emission zone (Ulez), will mean five million more people breathing cleaner air and will help to build a better, greener, fairer London for everyone’

Mr Khan said air pollution is making Londoners ‘sick from cradle to the grave’, with illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma

The new Ultra-low emission zone: What is it and how will it affect you? 

When and why was the Ulez created?

It was launched in April 2019 to clean up London’s air.

How bad is air quality in the capital?

An estimated 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year from conditions related to air pollution.

How does Ulez help?

It disincentivises drivers from using the most polluting vehicles by charging them a daily fee for entering the zone.

How much is the fee?

The charge for vehicles which do not comply with minimum emissions standards is £12.50 for cars, smaller vans, motorbikes and other lighter vehicles.

The fee for non-compliant larger vehicles such as lorries, buses and coaches is £100 under the low emission zone scheme.

How do I avoid the fee when driving in the zone?

Ensure your vehicle meets the minimum emissions standard.

For petrol cars that means those generally first registered after 2006.

Most diesel cars registered after September 2015 are exempt from the charge.

When does the Ulez operate?

All day, every day, except Christmas Day.

How soon after a journey do I need to pay?

You have until midnight on the third day following the journey.

What happens if I am liable to the charge but do not pay?

Failing to pay can result in a penalty charge notice of £160, reduced to £80 for early payment.

What area is currently covered by the Ulez?

The zone initially covered the same area of central London as the congestion charge.

Since October 25 last year it has included everywhere within the North and South Circular roads.

How significant is the August 2023 expansion?

The zone will be 18 times larger, covering all London boroughs.

Mr DiCaprio met Mr Khan last year at the COP26 summit in Glasgow and has previously used social media to support the mayor’s initiatives. In 2019 he tweeted congratulations to Mr Khan on the launch of the Ulez in central London. At the time, the actor said: ‘Clean air is a human right.’

The scheme has proved unpopular with many Londoners with a YouGov poll of 1,072 adults in the capital finding that 51 per cent opposed the Ulez being widened from its current boundary up to the North and South Circular Roads across all 33 boroughs.

Some 34 per cent were in favour and 15 per cent didn’t know.

Mr Khan’s Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Will Norman, praised Mr DiCaprio, saying: ‘The Mayor of London’s ULEZ expansion will give 5million Londoners cleaner air, People around the city and all over the globe know how important it is. Even Leo DiCaprio!’

Russell Warfield, head of communications at climate charity Possible, poked fun at Mr DiCaprio’s well documented preference for women many years his junior.

‘He likes his NO2 (nitrogen dioxide) levels like he likes his women. As close to legal as possible.’

The expansion of Ulez is expected to generate £200million in the first 12 months, according to Transport for London. However this is expected to drop away in following years as drivers switch to cleaner vehicles to avoid the £12.50 levy.

About 15 per cent of vehicles registered in outer London – about 200,000 – are currently thought to be liable for the 24/7 charge.

As London Mayor, Mr Johnson announced plans to implement the world’s first low emission zone in the capital in 2015. He has since opposed Mr Khan’s plan to expand Ulez.

Hundreds of thousands more drivers face a daily fee of £12.50 for using London’s roads after the mayor announced he will expand the zone to boost air quality. It will now stretch more than 30 miles from Uxbridge to Upminster.

Mr Khan has said extending Ulez to cover the whole of the capital from August 29 next year is ‘one of the toughest decisions’ he’s had to take but that it will give five million Londoners cleaner air to breathe.

The scheme, which operates at all times except Christmas Day, is currently limited to the area within the North and South Circular roads.

Motorists have criticised the move, which will cost regular commuters around £3,250 a year and comes as families are already facing soaring grocery , energy and fuel bills.

A spokeswoman for Mr Khan said: ‘The Mayor has been clear that it was not an easy decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide but a necessary one to reduce the capital’s toxic air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in our city.

‘Around 4000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to the toxic air in our city and children are growing up with stunted lungs while adults have greater risk of heart disease, dementia and other serious illnesses.

‘The Mayor has listened to Londoners throughout this process and has asked TfL to explore what further support could be provided to care workers who may not have compliant vehicles in London. 

‘Although this is not straightforward, the Mayor has asked TfL to see what they can do without undermining the air quality benefits of the scheme.

‘Despite not receiving a penny in scrappage funding from the Government, the Mayor is providing £110million for a new scrappage scheme to help the Londoners who need it most amid the cost of living crisis including low income and disabled Londoners, on top of the £61million he provided for previous scrappage schemes. 

‘He continues to call on the government to support London’s scrappage scheme so it can expand even further, as they have done for other cities across the country.’

Source: Read Full Article