London ULEZ: Mayor's officials accused of manipulating plans – BBC

Sadiq Khan has been accused of providing "false and misleading" information over the ultra-low emission zone expansion (ULEZ) plans.
After a consultation, it was decided on 25 November that from August, it will cover all London boroughs.
The Conservatives allege City Hall officials tried to "manipulate" the consultation process.
The mayor's office said Mr Khan was not informed on its progress and only made decisions after the final report.
It added that any suggestions that he or Transport for London attempted to influence the consultation were "simply untrue".
Extending ULEZ to outer London – where drivers will pay a £12.50 charge for using old and high-polluting vehicles – is one of the mayor's flagship policies, a measure that is needed, he believes, to tackle the capital's poor air quality.
The Tories say documents they have obtained through freedom of information requests show the mayor was given a rundown on the findings two weeks before he denied knowledge of them at a session of mayor's question time at City Hall in October.
Extra advertising and polling were paid for to boost support for the scheme while thousands of responses from campaigners who were against it were excluded, it is alleged.
The mayor was legally obliged to consult on the plan.
When the views of the public, charities and councils were sought last summer the early signs were discouraging.
Over half way into the 10-week consultation, two thirds of respondents said they were opposed to the scheme.
Officials then spent thousands of pounds on a digital marketing campaign targeting young people through Snapchat and Instagram – ostensibly because there had been fewer responses from the 18 to 30s.
The Tories say this was deliberately designed to drum up support for ULEZ among younger people because they were more likely to be concerned about air quality and climate change.
Transport for London also commissioned a survey by pollsters YouGov, which found that only 27% of respondents opposed the extended ULEZ.
Nearly 5,000 so-called "copy and paste" email responses opposed to the ULEZ extension – organised by the pro-motorist Fair Fuel campaign group – were also excluded from the tally.
When factored into the consultation process, these measures together reduced the percentage of those who were against the scheme from 67% to 59%.
The Tories say the measures were "biased" and designed to downplay the extent of ill-feeling, so making it easier for the mayor and his communications staff to sell the decision to go ahead to the media.
During mayor's question time on 13 October, the mayor said he had not been briefed on the results during the process.
But a confidential briefing document and minutes suggest that he was brought up to speed on the consultation at a meeting on 29 September.
The Conservatives on the London Assembly have now asked for an investigation by the Greater London Authority's monitoring officer who oversees complaints about alleged misconduct.
Their transport spokesman Nick Rogers said: "We now have overwhelming evidence that Sadiq Khan has committed serious misconduct by violating the integrity of the consultation and improperly excluding thousands of legitimate responses.
"The mayor must now explain himself to Londoners, who participated in this consultation in good faith. The behaviour cannot stand and must be addressed by the appropriate authorities."
On 25 November Mr Khan announced he was going ahead with expansion, saying the process had been a consultation not a referendum.
A spokesperson for the mayor said he was not provided with information on the consultation while it was open and that he did not make any decisions until he received the final report from TfL.
They said: "The mayor made the decision after considering TfL's full final report on the consultation responses. The consultation was not a referendum, however TfL made a number of modifications to the scheme following feedback received in the consultation.
"This included addressing cost-of-living concerns with a £110m scrappage scheme for low-income Londoners and extending the exemptions for disabled Londoners.
"TfL takes its responsibility to run robust and legally compliant consultations extremely seriously, with an independent consultancy putting together the final analysis and report, and any suggestion that TfL or the mayor has sought to influence the results of the ULEZ consultation is simply untrue.
"As part of a rigorous consultation process, it was right for TfL to seek responses from as wide a range of Londoners as possible, including young Londoners – whose lives will be affected by air pollution for years to come."
The spokesperson added that all of the "discarded" 58,000 consultation responses were reviewed and analysed, except the 24 responses to the consultation that were flagged as abusive or threatening.
At least two London councils are currently objecting to Transport for London installing the cameras on their roads needed to enforce the ultra-low emissions zone.
Politicians from all sides say the issue will play a big part in the next mayoral election, when Mr Khan will seek a record third term.
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