MPs are set to vote today on whether ministers should be allowed to overturn “controversial” schemes by the Mayor of London such as the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).

Chipping Barnet MP and former Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers is calling for the Government to have powers to intervene when there are “very serious concerns” about decisions relating to transport and air quality.

It comes as plans by Mayor Sadiq Khan are set to expand the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) across all of Greater London by the end of August 2023 have come under fire, with a High Court judge last month deciding five Conservative-led councils could challenge the plan.

MPs to discuss plans if the ministers can overturn ULEZ plans

If plans for the expansions are to go ahead, drivers that do not meet emissions standards will have to pay £12.50 a day to drive within the zone. 

The new borders are set to reach Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey.

The mayor's team has previously stated that the expansion is a bid to respond to a  “health emergency” by taking action to tackle “toxic air” in the capital.

But some have suggested it is not fair on those who cannot afford newer, low-emission vehicles, while others suggest they could tackle the health emergency in alternative methods. 

Ms Villiers, who represents Chipping Barnet, also opposes moves to build on station car parks and suggests other areas the Bill would allow the Transport Secretary to look act include Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) and 20mph limits on wide main roads, described by Ms Villiers as ‘anti-car policies’.

In a ten-minute rule bill - which allow backbench MPs to make the case for a new bill in a short speech - she wants to amend the Greater London Authority Act 1999, so Transport Secretary Mark Harper can review and overturn such decisions made by the Mayor.

If the MP is successful the Bill is taken to have had its first reading.

Speaking to the PA news agency, Ms Villiers said: "A key theme is the unhappiness, especially with Ulez but also with a number of the other controversial transport schemes the mayor has introduced.

“A lot of my constituents would like the Government to be able to step in and ask the mayor to think again."

She added: "So I think there is a place for intervention by ministers. I’m not saying this should happen as a matter of routine.

"But where there are very serious concerns about the decision by the Mayor of London I think it’s legitimate for my constituents to want the Government to step in and ask that the mayor does something different.

“With Ulez expansion, of course we all want to improve air quality in London, there is an air quality issue that needs to be addressed, but this is the wrong scheme at the wrong time.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: "The Mayor has been clear that the decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was not an easy one, but necessary to tackle toxic air pollution and the climate crisis.

"It is disappointing that some MPs are prepared to ignore the dangers of toxic air to Londoners’ health. With around 4,000 Londoners dying prematurely each year due to air pollution, there is no time for inaction and its people in outer London, particularly the poorest households, who suffer the most from the damaging health effects. 

“Nine out of ten cars in outer London are already ULEZ-compliant. For those with the most polluting vehicles the Mayor has launched his £110 vehicle scrappage scheme - the largest scheme ever launched by any city in the UK - to help low-income Londoners, disabled Londoners and micro businesses, sole traders and charities to replace their polluting vehicles."

"The Mayor is calling on the Government to match his action on toxic air by funding a targeted national scrappage scheme or providing funding to London and the surrounding areas to support the switch to cleaner vehicles. The Government have given millions of pounds for scrappage schemes in other parts of the country, but not a single penny to London."