Mr Khan, 50, set out for his walk on Thursday afternoon with his wife and yellow labrador, before he was seen in a diesel-powered VW Caravelle
Sadiq Khan was accused of rank hypocrisy last night after he was pictured using a cavalcade of cars – including a gas-guzzling Jaguar – to take his dog for a walk.
The Labour Mayor of London has spent years railing against car owners and has repeatedly badgered drivers to stop taking unnecessary, short journeys.
His office issued an alarming report last Monday warning that car pollution was endangering the lives of 3.1 million children in England – and praised the Mayor’s policies to cut emissions.
But three days later, the politician was seen being driven with his wife Saadiya and dog Luna in a convoy of three vehicles, including a £75,000 petrol-driven Jaguar, which has a five-litre V8 engine, a £50,000 diesel Volkswagen people-carrier, and a Volvo hybrid petrol-electric SUV worth £50,000.
Staggeringly, the Mayor was driven to Battersea Park to walk his dog – despite living just a few hundred yards from one of London’s largest commons in Tooting, South London.
Two days earlier, Mr Khan had criticised car journeys, tweeting: ‘Time is running out to stop a climate catastrophe – and London’s road to recovery from the pandemic cannot be clogged by cars.’
Mr Khan, 50, set out for his walk on Thursday afternoon with his wife and yellow labrador, before he was seen in a diesel-powered VW Caravelle.
The Jaguar, which clocks up just 13.8 miles to the gallon in the city, was in the convoy with the Caravelle, which does 36 miles per gallon. The more environmentally friendly Volvo was at the head of the fleet.
In heavy traffic, the cars crawled past Tooting Bec Common and began a bumper-to-bumper journey through South London towards Battersea that lasted 25 minutes.
The procession is likely to have snaked through traffic and past another large open space, Clapham Common, where families could be seen enjoying the summer holidays and having picnics.
The Mayor, his wife and the dog got back into the VW people-carrier and were ferried back in another 25-minute journey in heavy rush-hour traffic
The Jaguar, which clocks up just 13.8 miles to the gallon in the city, was in the convoy with the Caravelle, which does 36 miles per gallon
The more environmentally friendly Volvo was at the head of the fleet. They would have belched an estimated 14kg of carbon dioxide into the air for the nine-mile round-trip
The 4.5-mile journey would have taken the Mayor along some of the capital’s most congested roads before arriving at Battersea Park at 2.25pm. After sweeping into the historic 19th Century park, Mr Khan, his wife and Luna took their leisurely stroll, with the Mayor’s security team following close by.
Later, the Mayor, his wife and the dog got back into the VW people-carrier and were ferried back in another 25-minute journey in heavy rush-hour traffic.
The Jaguar V8 Portfolio is categorised in the highest tax band of polluting vehicles, while the VW is in the fifth highest category. The Volvo hybrid is among the cleanest vehicles on the road.
They would have belched an estimated 14kg of carbon dioxide into the air for the nine-mile round-trip, according to fuel calculators – which will take a tree eight months to absorb. The cars, carrying five Scotland Yard protection officers, are all police vehicles.
Mayor’s anti-car proclamations
Where you can give up using cars, I would encourage that.
April 25, 2021 interview with Sunday Times
Too many car journeys in London cover very short distances – we need alternatives.
June 7, 2021 on Facebook and Twitter
What we don’t want is, across the country, people jumping back in their cars and that includes London as well. June 23, 2021 interview with My London
Time is running out to stop a climate catastrophe – London’s road to recovery from the pandemic cannot be clogged by cars.
August 17, 2021 on Twitter
Mr Khan’s trip to walk his dog would have cost taxpayers an estimated £1,500 once the cost of his five-strong protection team and use of the vehicles is factored in.
Mr Khan, who is paid £152,000 a year, is the son of a London bus driver and has continuously called on drivers to leave their cars at home and take public transport such as buses and Tubes, or walk and cycle short journeys.
His crusade to cut pollution has led to plans to widen London’s low emission zone (ULEZ) in October to charge £12.50 a day for older, polluting vehicles to drive into the centre of the city. It is estimated that some 350,000 motorists in the city will be hit by the changes.
Last year, Mr Khan raised the Congestion Charge by 30 per cent from £11.50 to £15 a day and extended it to include weekends. His office initially claimed it was a temporary price hike during the pandemic, but it was made permanent last month.
He was first elected in 2016 and won a second term in May, promising to cut air pollution in the capital by slashing the number of vehicles on the roads. In April, Mr Khan told a Sunday newspaper: ‘Where you can give up using cars, I would encourage that.’ Two months ago, he tweeted: ‘Too many car journeys in London cover very short distances – we need alternatives.’
He also warned that he didn’t want ‘people jumping back in their cars’ when they resumed commuting to offices after lockdown.
In an interview earlier this month, Mr Khan said: ‘We’ve got to be less car-dependent… I want London to be the greenest city in the world. If you’re walking or cycling, you’re not emitting carbon.’
Last night, Howard Cox, of motorists’ campaign group Fair Fuel UK, said: ‘Mr Khan has to be the most two-faced politician in the UK. Staggeringly he knows no indignity in making others comply with his barrage of transport proclamations while he flouts them to suit his own selfish needs.’
Conservative MP Craig Mackinlay, who chairs a parliamentary group representing road users, questioned why Mr Khan would choose to be driven to Battersea Park ‘when he has a perfectly good area of common land to use near to where he lives’.
He added: ‘The thought that he has a fleet of not the most environmentally friendly vehicles despite telling us all what we should and should not be doing smacks of complete and utter hypocrisy.’
Mr Khan was criticised last year for using a £300,000 bulletproof Range Rover Sentinel to chauffeur him to work in City Hall, a seven-mile journey from his home. He later announced he would cycle to work on an electric bike but faced criticism after it emerged his security detail follows him in cars.
During his time as London Mayor, Boris Johnson often rode his bicycle to work, while Ken Livingstone regularly took the Tube. Both Mr Johnson and Mr Livingstone had use of a hybrid Toyota Prius during their tenures.
Susan Hall, leader of the Conservatives at the Greater London Authority, said: ‘It’s frankly scandalous that Sadiq Khan took a convoy of vehicles for a short trip to walk his dog when he’s lectured Londoners about needless car journeys.
‘At a time when he is punishing drivers by hiking the Congestion Charge and expanding ULEZ, Londoners will be appalled to see him taking three vehicles to walk his dog several miles from his home.
‘I appreciate the security concerns around the Mayor, but when it comes to Khan’s war on motorists, it’s do as I say, not as I do.’
A spokesman for the Mayor’s office said: ‘The Mayor of London receives round-the-clock protection from the Metropolitan Police in line with the assessed threat to his safety. Due to the sensitivity of their nature, it would be inappropriate to comment on the detail of those arrangements.’
He vowed to end pollution scourge after asthma death
By Jake Ryan for the Mail on Sunday
London Mayor Sadiq Khan pledged to tackle the ‘deadly scourge’ of car pollution after a nine-year-old girl became the first person in Britain to have air pollution listed as a cause of death.
Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah lived near one of Britain’s busiest roads when she died in 2013 following a severe asthma attack.
An inquest heard that in the three years before her death, Ella suffered multiple seizures and was admitted to hospital 27 times.
In December, coroner Philip Barlow found that air pollution ‘made a material contribution’ to Ella’s death.
The verdict at Southwark Coroner’s Court found that Ella was exposed to ‘excessive’ levels of pollution by living close to the South Circular road in Lewisham, South-East London.
Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah lived near one of Britain’s busiest roads when she died in 2013 following a severe asthma attack
At the time, Mr Khan welcomed the verdict and praised Ella’s mother Rosamund for campaigning to overturn an earlier inquest verdict, saying that he was ‘delighted to support the family in their efforts’.
He added: ‘Toxic air pollution is a public health crisis, especially for our children, and the inquest underlined yet again the importance of pushing ahead with bold policies such as expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone to inner London.’
At the inquest, Mr Barlow said levels of nitrogen dioxide near Ella’s home exceeded guidelines from both the World Health Organisation and the European Union.
Giving his conclusion over almost an hour, the coroner said: ‘I will conclude that Ella died of asthma, contributed to by exposure to excessive air pollution.’
Ella’s mother said afterwards: ‘We’ve got the justice for her which she so deserved.
‘But also it’s about other children still, as we walk around our city, of high levels of air pollution.’