City Hall Conservative members have launched an investigation into the consultation process for Sadiq Khan’s proposal to expand the ULEZ zone from August of next year.
A Telegraph report last week suggested two thirds of Londoners were against expanding the zone but that this number had allegedly been reduced to 59% in the consultation when some responses were screened out due to suspicion they were duplicates or not genuine replies.
The article, published on Friday, suggested that the removal of one-click responses to the proposal had overwhelmingly affected those opposed to the expansion of the ULEZ zone.
And it comes after Lewisham East Labour MP, Janet Daby, accused motorist groups earlier this month of using “dirty tricks” to sway the consultation process in favour of their members.
Nick Rogers, the City Hall Conservatives transport spokesperson, said: “Londoners will be shocked by the Telegraph’s revelations on the ULEZ expansion consultation.
“Sadiq Khan must reassure them by confirming he will now scrap the ULEZ expansion and address the serious integrity concerns raised by the investigation.”
In a letter to the mayor, Mr Rogers alleged: “Whistleblowers have approached Conservative assembly members and said that TfL has filtered responses in a way that disproportionately lowers the opposition count.
“I should also remind you that many people outside London are affected by the ULEZ expansion, and that the TfL consultation is required to capture their views as well.
“For example, they may regularly visit family, or they might run a small business that relies on customers from within London driving to them.”
He has demanded an urgent meeting with Mr Khan while the Conservative group say they have submitted nine Freedom of Information (FoI) requests relating to the matter.
But a spokesperson for the mayor insisted: “Any suggestions that TfL sought to influence the results of this consultation are categorically untrue and demonstrate a fundamental misunderstanding of how consultation analyses work.
“Independent consultation analysis is ongoing and a full consultation report will be published in due course.”
It is believed both numbers would reach Khan’s threshold for “overwhelming” opposition from the public that would be sufficient to stop the ULEZ expansion from proceeding.
The measure would cost £250m for installing new cameras, signage and infrastructure to police the zone - with critics arguing it would have a negligible effect on air quality in London.
Critics claim most cars within the zone meet pollution rules - with those that don’t mostly from small business owners and low income households.
And the £12.50 per day charge to use one of these vehicles in this area would be seen as a further blow in the wider cost of living crisis.
TfL was required to consult on the planned expansion to secure the network’s financial settlement with the government, meaning an improper process could breach the terms.
Nick Rogers, assembly member for south west London, added: “Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion would have had a negligible effect on air quality, but would have been devastating for small businesses and low income families.
“I am not surprised that an overwhelming 66% voted against his cost of living charge, which will force him to drop the policy.
A spokesman for TfL told the Telegraph: “We take our responsibility to run robust and legally compliant consultations extremely seriously.
"We are using an independent third party to analyse every consultation response we have received, a process that is still ongoing.
"The results will help to shape any scheme that is taken forward.
“When finalised we will publish a full report that will set out our response to the issues raised by those that took part.”
And the mayor’s spokesperson added: “The mayor is proud of tackling the capital’s toxic air, which currently leads to 4,000 Londoners dying early every year and millions more suffering from asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
“It’s clear this has been the focus of a coordinated campaign of opposition by drivers’ groups such as Fair Fuel UK, including from thousands of people who do not live or work in London.
“It’s important that the views of all Londoners are taken into account as we move forward.
“Four million Londoners are now breathing cleaner air thanks to the expansion of the ULEZ last autumn.
“An estimated five million more living in outer London are expected to benefit if the ULEZ is expanded London-wide.”
Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, claimed TfL had been instructed to exclude 5,000 emails from drivers opposed to ULEZ expansion.
Mr Cox: “With or without my help, 66 per cent don’t want ULEZ to be expanded in London.
“Any manipulation of the consultation result by Khan’s cohorts will be met with a significant legal response."