FOI request detail

ULEZ Expansion

Request ID: FOI-2412-2223
Date published: 19 January 2023

You asked

1) was the response to the Tfl website 'consultation' the basis on which the decision to expand ULEZ was made? 2) why was a letter drop to all households not carried out?

We answered

Our Ref:         FOI-2412-2223

Thank you for your request received on 23 December 2022 asking for further information about the Ultra-low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion consultation.

Your request has been considered in accordance with the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act and our information access policy. I can confirm we do hold the information you require. You asked:

1.         Was the response to the Tfl website 'consultation' the basis on which the decision to expand ULEZ was made?

The purpose of the consultation on proposals to improve air quality, tackle climate change and reduce congestion in London was to inform and support the decision-making process, it was not a referendum on whether something should or should not happen (although consultation respondents were free to state this in their response if they wished). It provides all communities and stakeholders an opportunity to share their views and opinions. We considered this feedback and assembled a report for the Mayor’s consideration. This is done in line with the principles of a legally compliant public consultation.

The consultation ran for more than two months and received nearly 58,000 responses.  This is the largest response to a TfL consultation for the last 20 years. The majority of respondents thought we needed to go further on tackling poor air quality, and a number of issues were raised in response to individual proposals. The feedback we received has been vital in shaping the scheme that is being taken forward. As a result of stakeholder feedback and themes raised in the consultation responses a number of changes have been made to the original proposals. These include:

•           Introduce a new grace period for recipients of the standard and higher rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment
•           Introduce a new grace period for all wheelchair accessible vehicles and for vehicles with select other special adaptations including hoists, swivel seats and accelerator rings
•           Create a new £110m scrappage scheme
•           Introduce a new retrofit grant for charities and micro-businesses who would prefer to retrofit rather than replace their vehicles
•           Introduce a new higher-value grant for wheelchair accessible vehicles
•           Allow eligible Londoners to apply for scrappage grants for nominated drivers who live at a different address
•           Introduce the option for successful applicants to increase their overall scrappage package value by choosing up to two bus and tram annual passes in addition to a cash grant
•           Work with businesses to provide a range of third party offers for services such as car clubs and cycle subscriptions to support Londoners to switch to cleaner forms of transport

2.         Why was a letter drop to all households not carried out?

Noting that you have not been able to access the relevant parts of the reports setting out how we publicised the consultation, I have summarised some of that detail below.

We developed a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the consultation and encourage the public and other stakeholders to have their say. The campaign comprised an extensive email campaign, national press and digital advertising, radio advertising, social media, letter drops to local centres such as community centres and a press release issued to all relevant media. The campaign was intended to raise awareness of the consultation and describe what channels were available for potential respondents to take part. It was supported by extensive stakeholder engagement with organisations whose members may be impacted by the proposals. Activity included:

•           Emails to promote the consultation and the channels available for participating in it, to over 2.3 million recipients
•           We advertised the opportunity to submit a response to us throughout the consultation period and across a number of press titles. The total audience was 3,270,566
•           We used a number of digital advertising tools to promote the consultation. These were principally ‘pop-up’ adverts aimed at people browsing the internet or who, through their browsing history (for example visiting travel or traffic-related websites), we judged would have a potential interest in our consultation
•           We sponsored a number of key-word searches in Google so that a link to our consultation webpage would be returned as the first link in a search using a large number of terms which were related to our consultation
•           We used paid social media advertisement on Instagram and Snapchat which ran for the last four weeks of the consultation
•           We advertised the opportunity to submit a response to us throughout the consultation period across a number of radio stations - the total audience was 20,952,099
•           We also posted consultation flyers, posters and covering letters to 820 locations, including community centres, leisure centres, libraries, Citizens Advice centres, job centres and foodbanks across outer London and 0.5 miles outside of the M25

In addition, prior to the launch of the consultation, we contacted a number of stakeholders to provide them with advance notice of the consultation, as a means to ensure they would be fully informed of the opportunity to take part. We contacted these stakeholders again in the final week of the consultation, to remind them that the consultation would shortly be closing and to encourage them to submit a response if they had not already done so.

On this consultation we worked with a marketing agency to identify the most effective and value for money channels to raise awareness of the consultation with those that may be impacted by the ULEZ proposals. In assessing the required reach of the marketing campaign we identified that people across the Greater London area and the Home Counties would be most impacted by the proposals. Geographically this is a large area, and as such a letter drop to all households would have been prohibitively expensive and not as effective as the marketing channels we used.

If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to contact me.

Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.

Yours sincerely

Gemma Jacob
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
General Counsel
Transport for London

[email protected]

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