City Hall’s Financial Ties with Scientist Cast Doubt on Ulez Report

Funding ties between City Hall and scientist raise concerns about impartiality in clean air zone report.

  • Close Connections: Dr Gary Fuller, a senior lecturer at Imperial College London, who is an active advocate for low-emission zones, was the sole independent peer reviewer of a study promoting the benefits of the Ulez expansion. This same study had directly cited his own research from 2016.
  • Financial Ties: The Environmental Research Group at Imperial College, of which Dr Fuller is a member, was awarded £891,992 in funding by City Hall between 2021 and 2023, which could potentially challenge the standard impartiality requirements for peer review.
  • Contradictory Actions: While the report was positioned as having undergone “independent peer review”, Dr Fuller’s affiliations and previous writings, including those supportive of low-emission zones in The Guardian, present a possible bias in favour of the Mayor’s policy.
  • City Hall’s Defence: In light of recent concerns, City Hall pointed out that there was no official requirement for such studies to be peer reviewed. Their decision to involve Dr Fuller, they argue, was based on his expertise and not influenced by previous collaborations.

Political Analysis: The entwined relationships between research funding, political agendas, and the scientific community often create complexities in policy-making. In the Ulez report case, it becomes evident that thorough scrutiny is essential to ensure that policy decisions are backed by truly impartial evidence. The overlaps between Dr Fuller’s professional interests and the report’s conclusions, combined with the financial links to City Hall, add a layer of uncertainty around the report’s impartiality, which might impact its credibility in the public’s eye.

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