Derby City Council

Labour lies to the public over its ‘fake’ claims on “congestion charging”

In Labour’s May 2018 manifesto it states – “Labour Oppose Tory Congestion Charge”.

Derby Labour Leader Cllr Banwait says:

“We have a choice over how to improve our air quality: pay more Tory taxes or receive a helping hand.

“We are committed to improving air quality but Derby residents shouldn’t be taxed through the nose to pay for Tory failure.

“Many local families and tradesmen need their vehicles for work and pleasure. With Labour’s plan, we will clean up the city’s air by incentivising residents to swap their vehicle for a one-off cash payment from a government grant.”

However, much of this does not bear scrutiny:

The Council Cabinet paper approved by Cllr Banwait on 15th March 2017,  confirmed that there was not a congestion charge. The Access restriction option would not apply to private cars.

Councillor Asaf Afzal, Cabinet member for Neighbourhoods and Public Protection, acknowledged in a recent meeting (March 2018) the concerns about air pollution and said it was “something the council was taking very seriously.”

But, he stated:

Charging is not a compulsory part of clean air zones, so a charging scheme will not be voluntarily introduced in this city. We can achieve specific levels through a range of other measures, such as public transport and cleaner vehicles.”

Later, he confirmed to the Air Quality Minister, Therese Coffey that following legal advice that:

“there is no legal mandate for any charging scheme to be implemented.”

Quoted from Fleet News 19/3/2018:

In a letter to Cllr Ranjit Banwait, the leader of Derby City Council, Therese Coffey (Air Quality Minister)  berated the local authority for a lack of detail.

She said she was disappointed” that Derby has been “consistently late in submitting evidence and Defra had still not seen any of the detail or modelling outputs for the options Derby has been been developing. “This is of serious and increasing concern,” she said.

“I would expect you to have considered a range of options, then identified a short list of options that can deliver compliance in the shortest possible time. From this short list of options, you are expected to provide evidence on your selection of a preferred option that must demonstrate how your preferred option would achieve compliance in the shortest possible time and how it would be fair, effective and good value.”

She also questioned how details of the scrappage scheme proposal presented in the local media varied significantly from that outlined to the department.

She said that the next step should be to commence “urgent and open discussions” with the Joint Air Quality Unit (JAQU) to examine the evidence behind the proposed targeted scrappage scheme.

She added:

“I should underline that I cannot take a view on your proposal without the information outlined above but I do want to encourage you to be realistic in your assessment of the options.”

Comment:

  • There is no “Congestion Charge”
  • Any charging associated with vehicles will be restricted to commercial diesel vehicles, not residents, and cannot be mandated
  • The Government is encouraging Local Authorities to look at many “complementary options” for which funding will be provided instead of charging.
  • Derby City Council has proposed a car scrappage scheme, however, evidently, it appears not to be sufficiently detailed to prove that it meets the clean air targets.
  • Any form of charging is not a proposal by the Conservative group in Derby.
  • The main risk to the public is the poor performance of Derby City Council in coming up with a robust set of proposals that can achieve the Air Quality targets in the City.

The Labour Group know full well that there is no congestion charge, and that many options can be explored to achieve the Clean Air targets. This is quite simply lying to the public for political gain.

 

Categories: Derby City Council

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