Watford's Tory MP Dean Russell backed a failed Bill that if passed would have allowed decisions by the Mayor of London - that impact Hertfordshire residents - to be blocked.

On Friday, Dartford MP Gareth Johnson saw a second reading of his Private Members Bill heard in the House of Commons in an attempt to thwart the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) expansion.

It sought to allow the Secretary of State the power to overturn decisions made by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan regarding transport and air quality, such as the expansion of ULEZ.

However, Labour MPs spoke at length against the change, ensuring the Bill failed to progress as the permitted time lapsed.

Mr Russell, like many Conservative MP’s with constituencies bordering London, vehemently opposed the "unjustified" extension of ULEZ across all London boroughs in August last year.

This stance was supported by Watford mayor Peter Taylor and leaders at Hertfordshire County Council who say the extension dragged Hertfordshire residents travelling into London into the charge.

Following the debate on Friday, Mr Russell said: "Many will be aware of my public opposition to the London Mayor’s many tax grabbing schemes. I initially lead the campaign against his proposed border tax, which would have charged people to cross into the Greater London Authority, and I have continuously opposed the expansion of ULEZ. 

"I am disappointed the opposition used up all of the debate time to try and talk this bill out. On behalf of all the hardworking people of Watford, all the people who have to go into London to do their jobs, who go to work at the hospital, all the entertainers and the musicians who want to go in and work. I back this bill on their behalf."

In 2021 Mr Russell led a campaign to block Sadiq Khan's 'border tax' that would have unfairly charged constituents for travelling to work or visiting family in London if the crossed the Greater London Authority boundary. However, the ULEZ expansion has been criticised as a further attempt to raise funds for Transport for London (TfL).

In December 2022 nearly 30 Conservative MPs wrote to the Mayor of London urging him to cancel the “regressive and unfair” ULEZ expansion.

In August 2023 Hertfordshire County Council resisted attempts to have ULEZ warning signs placed on the counties roads.

A study by Imperial College London in 2021 concluded the ULEZ had “caused only small improvements” and on its own was not an effective strategy to improve air quality.

From August 2023, an additional 200,000 cars and vans became liable for the £12.50 daily charge or risked facing a hefty fine of £180. It is estimated around 2,700 drivers a day have been fined soon after the expansion, with TfL’s own reports showing 57,200 drivers paying the daily charge in September, raising an estimated £715,000 a day.

Mr Russell added: "It is clear this is just another money-making scheme in the name of environmental protections."

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan believes ULEZ is the best way to clean up the capital's dirty air and improve Londoners health.

A spokesman said: 'The evidence shows that ULEZ is working. 95 per cent of vehicles seen driving on London's roads are now compliant and don't need to pay a penny. Thousands of drivers have now received money to scrap their dirty vehicles, helping clean up London's air and protect Londoners' health.