Mark Drakeford fails to rule out ULEZ-style charging schemes on Wales’ busiest roads as First Minister is quizzed over further ‘anti-car’ plans in wake of backlash against national 20mph limit
Mark Drakeford today failed to rule out the introduction of charging schemes on Wales’ busiest roads as the First Minister was quizzed over his future plans.
But the First Minister stressed these would only be implemented as a ‘fall-back’ option if other measures failed to tackle air pollution.
Mr Drakeford is currently facing a backlash after Wales recently became the first country in the UK to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for restricted roads.
The Welsh Conservatives have accused the Labour-led Welsh Government of pursuing an ‘anti-car’ agenda.
Mark Drakeford today failed to rule out the introduction of charging schemes on Wales’ busiest roads as the First Minister was quizzed over his future plans
Speaking in the Senedd, the Labour politician did not deny the Welsh Government could pursue schemes similar to the Ultra Low Emission Zone ( ULEZ ) across London
The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill includes proposals for clean air zones on stretches of the M4 and A470, if 50mph zones fail to reduce emissions
The Environment (Air Quality and Soundscapes) (Wales) Bill includes proposals for clean air zones on stretches of the M4 and A470, if 50mph zones fail to reduce emissions.
Andrew RT Davies, the leader of the Welsh Conservatives in the Senedd, grilled Mr Drakeford about the plans at First Minister’s Questions.
Mr Drakeford replied: ‘The powers in that Bill are powers to do with improving air quality.
‘I have heard the member make very positive contributions on the floor of the Senedd about the importance of improving air quality in Wales.
‘We know it is a public health issue, we know that there are thousands of people whose lives might be shortened if the air that they breathe is not of the quality we would like it to be.
‘The Bill sets out a whole series of ways in which we will aim to improve air quality here in Wales.
‘It has, as a residual and fall-back position, powers that could in the future lead to road charging, if all those other things do not work.
‘But the point of the Bill is to make those other things work. Those are the things that the Bill focuses on and those are measures we will be focusing on as a Government.’
The expansion of London’s ULEZ to all parts of the capital last month proved controversial, with many enforcement cameras having since been vandalised.
It now means a £12.50 daily fee is charged on all vehicles not meeting minimum requirements across all London boroughs.
The Conservatives attributed their win in July’s Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election to a local backlash against the ULEZ expansion by Labour mayor Sadiq Khan.