Council To Proceed With Controversial CPZ Changes
An angry Simon Hayes who started the petition reviews the council decision
‘Probably the greatest display of spineless inertia I’ve seen since I saw a host of jellyfish washed up on the beach when I was on holiday’
That’s how Ealing resident Simon Hayes described the Labour benches at last Tuesday night’s (24 July) Council meeting where he presented his petition calling for the withdrawal of the Council’s proposed transport strategy. If implemented, it will see CPZ permit charges for residents rise by up to 60 per cent.
The Council rejected the petition, despite the fact that over 2,800 residents signed it. Mr Hayes described the process as a joke.
He said,‘I can’t believe that our elected representatives – particularly those on the Labour benches – are so uninterested in the views of almost 3,000 voters in the borough. These are not just people who are affected by the CPZ charge but people from across the board, of all political persuasions.
‘The Council are riding roughshod over voters. This was not publicised during the May elections, and what they are doing in trying to raise an extra £500,000 from CPZ permit holders is unlawful. There is statute and case law that forbids using such permit schemes as methods of raising revenue. Otherwise there would be nothing to stop them charging £1000 a pop.
‘Does Ealing Council really think it is above the law? I have asked their head of Legal Service to clarify the legal advice given to the team that drafted this strategy.’
Cllr Bassam Mahfouz defended the changes to CPZ charges, claiming it was a measure designed to reduce pollution and save lives. He said 400 lives a year were lost in Ealing due to pollution. Mr Hayes disagreed with his reasoning.
He said: ‘The Transport Strategy will have next to no impact on pollution levels in the Borough. CPZ residents pay for permits so they can park in their roads. Most of the time their cars are not being used, so don’t pollute.
‘At the same as telling Council Tax payers they must get rid of their cars they are actively soliciting commuters to drive into the borough to pay £4.50 a day to use shared use parking bays. It’s a joke.
‘The real cause of pollution is the clogged arterial routes running through the borough, with traffic flows slowed to a snail’s pace by frequent roadworks and poor road layouts. I haven’t heard anyone on the Labour benches coming up with any ideas to deal with the hundreds of thousands of those vehicles passing through Ealing every day.
‘And for a Council supposedly committed to reducing pollution they’ve suddenly gone very quiet over Heathrow’s Third Runway. Strangely they seem to be the only local borough NOT fighting expansion. Maybe there’s some money in it for them somewhere.’
Conservative and Liberal Democrat councillors spoke in favour of the petition.
Walpole ward Labour councillor, Paul Conlan, claimed the Transport Strategy would force people in affluent wards, such as Chiswick and Ealing, to trade in their cars for less polluting models and they shouldn’t complain about paying more for a permit. He claimed that permit prices will go down for some people.
Mr Hayes said: ‘I think his powers of intellectual thought have been affected by the recent heatwave. Cllr Conlan seriously believes that pollution is all the fault of supposedly wealthier people living in certain parts of the borough. Does nobody else own a car in Ealing outside of the CPZs? How many of the Labour councillors regularly drive a car?
‘ It’s all very well telling us to buy new cars but the fact is that a £20,000 electric vehicle is beyond most people I know at the moment. We aren’t complaining about paying for permits, we ARE complaining about the process by which this is being done, but none of the Labour councillors has the spine to stand up for the people who voted for them.
‘It’s pathetic that we effectively have a chamber of Julian Bell’s glove puppets running this borough.
They don’t even have the courtesy to put down their phones when people are speaking, let alone listen to cogent and reasoned argument.
‘This is not democracy as I understand it. This is something approaching a Communist state. Decisions are taken in secret and imposed on the population and argument is not encouraged. Look at the cuts being made to library services. Where will it end?’
We have requested comment from Ealing Council.
July 25, 2018