Support our Nation today - please donate here

Tories pledge to block ‘Wales-style’ 20mph limits‘ and reverse outer London Ulez zone

07 Jun 2024 3 minute read
A 20mph road sign

Roads chiefs will block “blanket” 20mph zones and scrap outer London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) if the Conservatives are re-elected.

Top Tories would table a “Backing Drivers Bill”, which they say would “protect drivers from the draconian policies of local Labour politicians”, the party said in a statement.

With General Election campaigns underway, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “We will reverse Sadiq Khan’s unfair Ulez expansion and rule out any blanket 20-mile-an-hour zones because we are on the drivers’ side. And we will rule out any pay-per-mile road tax to keep costs for drivers down.

“There’s a clear choice at this election – Labour who will continue to penalise drivers or the Conservatives who will back drivers.”

‘War on drivers’

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak took aim at Labour leaders in Westminster and Cardiff Bay, who he accused of launching a “war on drivers”.

Drivers of the most polluting vehicles must pay a £12.50 daily charge if they use almost any road within Greater London, on top of any tolls or the inner London Congestion Charge. Drivers of Ulez-compliant vehicles do not have to pay the fee.

According to Mayor of London figures from October last year, 95% of vehicles on the capital’s roads are “compliant with clean air standards” – up from 39% in 2017.

Imperial College London, commissioned by City Hall, found that “toxic air” contributed to around 4,000 premature deaths in the capital.

But the policy proved controversial when Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan fronted its expansion to cover outer London boroughs last year – into areas such as Bromley, Croydon, Heathrow Airport and Wembley.

It previously covered the area between the A406 North Circular and A205 South Circular roads.


Vandals are known to have damaged Ulez cameras and signage, while anti-Ulez protesters have gathered on several occasions in Parliament Square, Trafalgar Square and Strand.

The Welsh Government reduced the restricted roads “default” speed from 30mph to 20mph last year, in built-up areas including villages, towns and cities.

The move prompted a backlash from some members of the public. A Senedd petition opposing the change was signed by 469,571 people – the most of any in the Welsh Parliament’s 25 years.

Labour’s Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Ken Skates, “is undertaking a programme of listening” between April and July this year, according to the Welsh Government, and will produce new policy guidance for the autumn.

“We still believe that 20mph is right, but we want to make sure we are getting the right speeds on the right roads,” a Welsh Government webpage reads.

New road collision data published yesterday (6 June) shows that casualties have reduced on roads in Wales since the introduction of the new 20mph speed limits in September 2023.

The data, which provides the total number of casualties in police recorded collisions, shows that in the last quarter of 2023 (October – December) road casualties on 20mph and 30mph roads reduced by 218, from 681 in 2022 to 463 in 2023.

The total number of casualties on 20mph and 30mph roads in Q4 was the lowest quarterly figure on record outside the Covid pandemic period.

Overall, in 2023 police in Wales reported a total of 3,262 road collisions, a decrease of 1.6% compared to 2022 and 24.7% lower than in 2019 (prior to the Covid pandemic).

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
A woman
A woman
8 hours ago


Why vote
Why vote
13 minutes ago

Now they want to listen to the public? It seems only when their jobs are on the line, now they want to go against the emperor of London? Hope the senedd is watching its their turn in two years.

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.