Private emails uncovered by the Telegraph suggest that Sadiq Khan’s office tried to discredit scientists who found that his Ultra Low Emissions Zone policy had a minimal impact on pollution. Here’s an excerpt:
In private emails seen by the Telegraph, Shirley Rodrigues, the London Mayor’s Deputy for Environment and Energy, told Professor Frank Kelly she was “really disappointed” that Imperial College had publicised findings questioning the effectiveness of Ulez.
Prof. Kelly, a director of Imperial’s Environmental Research Group, which has been paid more than £800,000 by Mr. Khan’s office since 2021, agreed to issue a statement – partly written by Ms. Rodrigues – saying Ulez had helped to “dramatically reduce air pollution”.
London Conservatives said the correspondence revealed an “alarmingly cosy relationship” between the Mayor’s office and the scientists it was funding, as well as a desire to “silence scientists who question the effectiveness of Khan’s policies”.
Prof. Kelly’s colleagues said they stood by their research “100%”, but the Telegraph understands that the fallout has had a chilling effect, leaving them unwilling to publish further work on the subject.
The study from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, published in the journal ‘Environmental Research Letters’ in 2021, found that the introduction of Ulez in 2019 cut nitrogen dioxide by less than three per cent and had insignificant effects on ozone and particulate matter.
Peter Fortune, the Conservative London Assembly Member for Bexley and Bromley, two of the boroughs challenging the Ulez expansion, said: “It is unacceptable that Sadiq Khan and his deputy conspired to silence legitimate research because it would damage the Mayor’s reputation and credibility.
“Sadiq Khan has claimed he is just following the science, yet he has been using scientific advisors to protect his own interests. Science relies on open, transparent debate.”