The Ultra Low Emission Zone is set to expand to all London boroughs on August 29 2023, but many drivers have been left disgruntled at the new plans, and have slammed the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision.
The public have been left divided on the ULEZ expansion, which will see motorists slapped with a £12.50 charge to drive in the newly expanded zones – if their car, motorcycle, van or other specialist vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards.
Brits who live in the newly proposed zones – such as Kingston-Upon-Thames, Hayes, Croydon, Twickenham and Enfield – and bordering counties, including the home counties, say the move is putting their businesses at risk and tearing families apart.
Other people have been left fuming at the proposed plan as they face £650 annual costs to visit sick their relatives or grandchildren, as tradesmen and business owners say they are looking at a whopping £3,000 bill to use their vehicles in the designated zones despite still financially recovering from the Coronavirus pandemic.
And while the Mayor has launched a new £110m scrappage scheme providing financial assistance – up to £2,000 for cars and £1,000 for motorcycles – to help eligible Londoners scrap their highest polluting vehicles to prepare for the expansion, many elderly people say that they simply cannot afford or ‘don’t want to spend £20,000 on a new car’ – branding the move a ‘nuisance’.
Here, Brits share why they oppose of the newly proposed expansion zones:
The ULEZ expansion zone. Drivers will be slapped with a £12.50 charge to drive in the newly expanded zones if their car, motorcycle, van or other specialist vehicle doesn’t meet the emissions standards
The Mayor of London has launched a new £110m scrappage scheme providing financial assistance for eligible Londoners to scrap their vehicle – including up to £2,000 for cars and £1,000 for motorcycles (File image)
Forking out £650 a year to visit seriously ill family
Sue Chapman (pictured), 63, from Tenterden, drives more than 100 miles – sometimes every week – to visit her schizophrenic family member in Tooting but says she’ll swallow the bill because of fears their mental state could spiral out of control without her
Sue Chapman, 63, from Tenterden, Kent, faces the £12.50 ULEZ charge every time she visits a loved one in London who is suffering from severe mental health problems.
Doing the trip by public transport, Sue says, is not doable for her as it would take nearly three hours – involving her taking two buses and two trains – incurring a total cost of more than £30.
Therefore, speaking to MyLondon, she said that she prefers the door-to-door drive in her 2007 Mini Clubman.
While her diesel costs and the parking come to around £30 too, she says she is the only one who can offer her loved one vital emotional support on a shoe-string budget.
The 63-year-old says that her family member is ‘significantly mentally ill’ and ‘on a lot of medicines’ and if she took the trip down less often she fears they would not be able to cope well.
Sue explained: ‘If I visited them less often I can categorically say they would not be as well as they are. They are sadly someone who earlier in their illness made three tough suicide attempts.
Unfortunately, despite Sue driving more than 100 miles – sometimes every week – drivers in the Home Counties are not eligible for up to £2,000 towards a new car.
However, she ‘does not have a choice’ but to cough up the cash for the ULEZ fee if she’s to take care of her family member, adding: ‘this charge is going to affect are basically people like us.’
Sadiq Khan has ‘ruined my retirement plans’ as I’ve cashed my pension early to buy a compliant car
Speaking to MailOnline, a Chessington resident, 55, who is a full-time carer has revealed she is ‘absolutely gutted’ that she was forced to cash in early on her pension to buy a complainant car for the new ULEZ expansion.
She has blamed Sadiq Khan for ruining ‘my retirement plans’ because of this.
Left horrified at being forced to cash out, the 55-year-old has shockingly claimed that Mr Khan’s new proposal looks like it is ‘okay to pollute the air as long as we pay him a fee to do so’.
Revealing how she will be affected by the ULEZ expansion, the resident who falls within the Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames said: ‘I’m a full time carer for my 85 year old disabled mother. I also work restricted part time due to the carers allowance I receive.
‘I can claim scrappage, but it’s only up to £2000 and isn’t fit for purpose. I’ve just cashed in my pension 10 years early so I can buy a compliant car and I’m absolutely gutted to have to have done this.’
She continued to say: ‘I work in Banstead and can get to work by car in 20 minutes. If I were to use public transport it’d take me two hours, on two buses, two trains and involve a mile walk.
‘I can’t afford that and I refuse to spend four hours a day commuting. My customers (home counties) tell me it will affect them too but they have had no say in it and weren’t able to vote for Khan either.
‘Khan has ignored the consultation and it turns out purchased the cameras before he even started the consultation. He claims to have been on free school meals as a child himself, so his own parents struggled, but he seems to think it’s fine to target the working classes with this tax as he has bankrupted TfL and needs the poorest to clear his deficit.
‘It seems it’s okay to pollute the air as long as we pay him a fee to do so.’
She added that ‘most astonishingly’ the Mayor of London has done nothing to help Brits who live in villages or out of London get into the city easily.
The 55-year-old said: ‘Finally, Greater London comprises small towns and villages; some areas have one bus an hour, but he continues to reduce public transport instead of improving it. There are 32 Greater London boroughs. Khan claims that four out of five vehicles are already compliant.
‘This is rubbish.’
Garage owner fears expansion zone will reduce value of his 27-year-old business
Mechanic Colin Ferns poses for photos in his garage in Richmond in London
A garage owner has revealed that he fears the expansion zone will reduce the value of his business, which he has kept going for 27 years.
Mechanic Colin Ferns, 59, the owner of a Mercedes garage in South West London now fears that the ULEZ expansion zone will knock £300,000 off his business.
The widening of the zone to include all 32 London boroughs in August this year could ‘ruin’ what he has built from the ground up.
Estimating that a quarter of his customers do not have vehicles that fit with the new regulations, he told MyLondon: ‘A lot of customers have sold their cars so we aren’t seeing them anymore. A huge portion of my customers who have had to part with their cars. It’s a catastrophe, it’s having a detrimental impact on my business.’
As well as Mr Ferns estimating that it will cost around £60 per fix to pay for the road tests, he fears that ULEZ will make his business worth ‘significantly less’ after recently having it valued for £600,000 through an audit.
He added: ‘I suspect the value of the business is reduced purely to the value of the premises (£300,000). The whole thing is a complete debacle. I’m an employer and I had no idea the consultation was going on until it was too late.’
‘The only property I own is a car – Sadiq Khan knows he’s making the poor poorer’
Croydon resident Josephine McCarthy (pictured above) says travelling by public transport is not feasible for her and her car is her only ‘freedom’ which allows her to go to work and visit relatives
While Croydon Council has not signed the Section 8 agreement for works to expand the ULEZ to the borough, residents have been left fuming that they will have to soon pay to travel into other areas that are part of the expansion.
The agreement would allow local highway authorities to enter into agreements with other authorities and companies in relation to the construction, reconstruction, alteration, improvement or maintenance of a highway.
Josephine McCarthy, from Croydon, has told the MailOnline that she lives in Croydon but works in Sutton – which is part of the planned expansion zone – and will now have to cough up ‘£12.50 a day for the pleasure’ of going into work and visiting her family.
She adds that she suffers from claustrophobia, and so travelling by public transport is not feasible for her.
She said: ‘I work as a SEN TA [special educational needs teaching assistant] in Sutton and I live in Croydon. I have a car that has never broken down and passes it’s MOT every year.
‘I do not like buses or trains and would have to get two and the pleasure of being squashed. I suffer claustrophobia.
‘The so called mayor of everywhere apparently says I’m not saying you can’t drive but pay my coffers £12.50 a day for the pleasure.’
The Croydon resident added that every month ‘I have to ask friends or relations to top up my bank account otherwise I’m over drawn’.
She continued to say: ‘My wages have stayed stagnant. Now Croydon want us to pay 15% rise on our council tax! The only property I own is my car. I would be nowhere with out it.’
And on speaking about how the ULEZ expansion zone will affect her visiting relatives, who are sick, she said: ‘My sister had a stroke and lives in Caterham. If I didn’t have my car I wouldn’t be able to see her.
‘It takes 20mins in car to get to her or over an hour on two buses. My car is my freedom and he [Sadiq Khan] wants to take that from me.
‘He’s a money grabbing disgrace. He knows he’s making the poor poorer. Because it’s the poor who drive older cars.’
The tube is too ‘b****y inconvenient’
Sue Goodman (pictured) won’t ditch her powerful Merc because the Tube is ‘bloody inconvenient’
Sue Goodman, 76, who lives in Kew Village, says that she will not be ditching her powerful Mercedes vehicle and will have to deal with the costs incurred for using her vehicle in the new ULEZ zone.
She explained to MyLondon that she is reluctant to part with her 23-year-old Mercedes SL500 because she is attached to it.
She explained that she tried using public transport, but it ended up being a major inconvenience for her as it was more of a hassle than driving to her destination.
Sue tried using public transport to get to her tennis matches in Ealing, but complained the Tube is ‘bl**** inconvenient’.
The 76-year-old added: ‘I have to change three to four times and a long walk, I decided to give in and pay ULEZ which costs £25 a week but it’s okay.’
Sue even got a quote to electrify the car, but revealed it would cost a staggering £60,000 on a two year waiting list.
And last week we reported that Brits discouraged to buy Electric Vehicles due to the lack of availability of them on the market or second hand sites, saying they are not ‘particularly affordable’ at this current time.
‘I am being penalized for owning an older car because that’s all I can afford’
Darren Rodwell, the leader of Barking and Dagenham council has slammed the ULEZ expansion scheme, saying that with the living pressures Brits are facing at the moment, there needs to be a more generous scrappage scheme than the £110m currently proposed.
The leader said he ‘made the case to TfL that we need a much more comprehensive and generous scrappage and support scheme for outer London, and a greater lead-in time for people to take advantage of any schemes, given the cost of living pressures facing people at the moment’.
And his constituents feel the same about the scheme.
Speaking to MailOnline, Barking resident Lee Wood, 45, says that he ‘vehemently’ opposes the emission zone expansion, saying that he feels it will not make a difference to his borough.
Mr Wood said: ‘I vehemently oppose this ULEZ expansion for the following reasons, the main argument for ULEZ is to improve air quality as a matter of urgency, now I don’t believe this will make hardly any difference to our outer London boroughs and even TfL own report states there will be a negligible benefit.
‘Our air quality is already good with lots of green space, I have a perfectly good older car that doesn’t produce any black smoke it passes its MOT emissions test every year and unlike cars years ago they are already fitted with filters to keep the exhaust fumes clean.’
He continued to say that he feels like he is being punished by the Government for owning an older car, and he cannot afford a newer one.
The 45-year-old said: ‘But I am being penalized for owning an older car because that’s all I can afford. This proposed scheme is very expensive to me £4000 a year will just make it impossible for me to drive and so will make my life miserable as I suffer with severe social anxiety and can’t use public transport.
‘There is no other compliant cars for sale I could possibly buy with very little money. So in short to scrap my perfectly good car and not being able to replace it will have a devastating impact on my life, why does it have to be so much money why couldn’t it have been £30-40 a month?
‘That would still be enough for people to start looking gradually for a cleaner newer vehicle not that I don’t think older cars are not particularly clean.’
The ULEZ expansion is a ‘shot in the arm for businesses like mine’
Damien Cook (pictured) says that as a business owner, he ‘feels for people’ who are going to be affected by the ULEZ expansion in August this year
Damien Cook, 51, from Kent, who is the owner of Cooke and Co Estate Agents and Lettings Agents, has claimed that his business will be in a ‘strained position’ because of the ULEZ expansion – as he will be needing to help his employees purchase cars that meet the criteria.
Speaking to MailOnline, the owner of the estate agents company says he ‘feels for people’ who are going to be affected by the ULEZ expansion.
He says that ‘people on lower incomes are going to get penalized, and with everything gong on with the economy and cost of living crisis it is unfair.’
Mr Cook continued to say that ‘until trains and transport get sorted out and have more investments placed into them, people are going to be really affected by the ULEZ expansion.
‘It seems ludicrous to me to expand the scheme but have no investment in making the roads better.’
While Mr Cook drives and Electric Tesla, he says that he will be affected by the expansion as his daughter lives in Stratford.
And in talking about how this will affect his business, he says that he will just have to ‘swallow the costs’ by helping out his estate agents.
He has already helped them by increasing their wages by 10 per cent to help them with the cost of living crisis.
But due to the nature of his staff’s jobs, they will have to incur the £12.50 charge a day and this is a ‘shot in the arm for me as we don’t have company cars.’
Instead, the landlord or property seller will have a fee put on their bill to cover the costs every time a member of staff takes someone on a viewing that is within the ULEZ zone.
The 51-year-old added that the majority of the people in his business have cars that do not meet the criteria, and also added that they ‘cannot afford a new car.’
His company will now be looking at helping out the employees change their cars over, but added that he is in a ‘strained position to help them’.
Londoners protest as ULEZ camera is ‘torn down’
It is not clear exactly where in London the incident occurred, but many TikTok users have praised the person who knocked the camera down
Footage of a ULEZ camera lying on the ground has gone viral this week.
The camera was used to monitor vehicles entering a ULEZ zone in central London, but following news about the increased daily charge, Londoners have taken a stand.
A TikTok video posted by @leesreactivemaintenance took the internet by storm this week as Londoners made their thoughts about the expansion zones clear.
In the video, a ULEZ camera is seen lying on the ground next to traffic lights after being removed from the pole.
The voiceover said: ‘That’s what I like to see in the morning, a ULEZ camera.’
While it is not clear exactly where in the capital the incident occurred, many social media users praised the person who knocked the camera down.
One person wrote: ‘We need to see more of this, public fighting back.’
While another said: ‘Great stuff, the ulez can do one!’
And a third person wrote: ‘Down with ULEZ, LTN and 15 Minute Lockdown cameras.’
A fourth put: ‘Actions speak louder than words people!’
Another person urged for the same to be done in their home town too, writing: ‘Beautiful. Now do all the new ULEZ cameras in Sheffield please.’
Residents not going to funerals over ULEZ charges
Speaking to MailOnline, a spokesperson at Mortlake Crematorium says that they have noticed some locals have been visiting the crematorium less and less because of the ULEZ charge.
While the ULEZ zone was introduced into the London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames in October 2021, elderly Londoners have been missing out on funerals because of this – and it is still the case today – a councillor has revealed.
Because of this, mourners driving to Mortlake Crematorium have to pay the £12.50 fee if their car is not compliant with emission rules.
This has meant that many regular elderly Londoners – who used to visit the crematorium weekly – have stopped attending because their cars do not fit within the regulations.
A spokesperson added that many elderly locals ‘don’t want to spend £20,000 on a new car and so there has been a decrease in regulars that visit the crematorium.
‘Whilst I am unable to give the specifics because we get hundreds of visitors a year, there is one gentleman in particular I have noticed that has stopped coming.’
Meanwhile, Penelope Frost, a Liberal Democrat councillor for the borough, has claimed hat number of ‘older residents’ have missed funerals because of the charge.
At a council meeting in January, Cllr Frost said: ‘I have certainly heard from some of our older residents who have actually just not attended funerals of friends and loved ones at Mortlake Crematorium because their cars will no longer get them to that site.
‘I think that because we have to take into account those people who do have older cars and they’re not yet in a position to change the cars, and certainly in Ham and Petersham you look very hard to find electric charging points.
‘Given that situation, I think we do have to look for some pause before this goes ahead because of the amount of damage it’s going to cause to our older and more isolated residents.’
‘The ULEZ expansion to the Surrey border means my grandkids won’t be able to visit me’
Sandy Lane, in Sutton, where the ULEZ will now cover. The ULEZ zone will expand to Surrey’s border at the London Borough of Kingston and Sutton
People who live on the proposed ULEZ expansion border say the move is putting businesses at risk and tearing families apart.
The Ultra Low Emissions Zone will be extend to Surrey’s border at the London Borough of Kingston and Sutton, but residents say that this poses a threat to their ability to see family members who live nearby or in other affected areas.
Debra Winning, a 62-year-old resident of Sandy Lane, in Sutton says that her grandchildren will not be able to visit her.
She says that the ULEZ zone coupled with the cost of living crisis is ‘another thing that’s going to drain people financially’, report SurreyLive.
The 62-year-old said: ‘I think it’s really bad actually.
‘All my grandchildren driving can’t afford the latest cars, they’re at uni. They won’t be able to come and visit me. One is a trainee nurse and one is a trainee teacher so they’re struggling financially already.’
She added that with rise of inflation and the cost of living crisis going up, the ULEZ fee will financially cripple a lot of families.
Ms Winning continued that she understands why it has been implemented in London due to busier roads, but ‘around this area I don’t think it’s fair at all.’
The grandmother went on to question: ‘I just think it’s so hard for people struggling. They’re not really thinking about how people are going to manage these situations. If they can’t afford a new car what are they supposed to do?’.
Builder to lose £3,000 over ULEZ which ‘tradesmen can’t afford’
A builder has stated that tradesmen will be one of the most affected people by the ULEZ expansion in August, as many workers will be forced to fork out thousands of pounds per year to cover their vans or vehicles – which they may not be able to afford.
The tradesman has claimed that he will face extra costs of more than £3,000 a year when the expanded charge comes into effect.
Taking to Reddit, the user detailed his concerns in a lengthy post.
He argued that the charge introduced for driving vehicles that do not meet emission standards could cost him as much as £3,500 more per year.
He said: ‘I’m a self employed builder and have lots of subcontractors and I can tell you that it’s going to be very difficult for some of them to cope with the Ulez.
‘The cost of second hand vans has skyrocketed since Covid and for a second hand 2017 van that has done 60,000 miles you’re looking at around £20,000 + VAT. Many of the one-man band businesses are not VAT registered so they will have to pay it.
‘I promise you that many tradesmen cannot afford it.’
He added that his outgoing expenses are now ‘double’ what they were just a few years ago – and customers are also feeling the pinch due to the rise of inflation and the cost of living crisis.
Figures from AutoTrader also show there are just 5,181 compliant vehicles for sale across London and the South East of England on its marketplace – with only 23,808 ULEZ-compliant vehicles for the entire UK.
This may cause issues in the long run as not all of these vehicles will be affordable for those who want to avoid the £12.50 daily charges.
‘Devastated ‘ business owner fears she may have to shut shop
Kat Heath (pictured), from Ewell, has concerns over the ULEZ expansion, saying her business ‘hasn’t got’ the £30,000 needed for a new van
Sutton in South London falls under one of the newly included expansion zones, as one business owner has been left fearing she may have to pull down the shutters for one last time when the ULEZ expansion comes into place in August.
Kat Heath, 40, who owns a handyman service, says she is worried that she will be forced to close as 80 per cent of her clients come from London boroughs.
The 40-year-old owner says her business is still recovering from the pandemic, and has slammed the government as ‘out of touch’ for looking to expand the zones.
Speaking to SurreyLive, Ms Heath said: ‘We’ll have to increase our hourly rate to afford to make these changes. We’ve looked into buying a new van which is £30,000 which we haven’t got. We’re still recovering from Covid and the effects that had on our business.
‘It’s devastating for us and other businesses. We’ll have to put our hourly rate up by another £3. If someone is having us for a couple of days that’s going to add up. A lot of the places we get materials from are based in Sutton and surrounding areas. We’ll have to pay £12.50 just to get materials or look at a job.’
The fact of the matter is, she said, they will now be looking to increase their prices to cover the tax and the ‘clients will face the brunt of that’.
Ms Heath added that with the cost of living crisis at the forefront of a lot of families and business owners minds, this ‘doesn’t sit’ well with her, adding that she feels the government is ‘out of touch.’
Pensioner who is ineligible for the scrappage scheme
A pensioner has claimed that he is ‘ineligible for the scrappage scheme’ as he drives a 20-year-old car.
Eligible applicants for the scheme must live within one of the 32 London boroughs or the City of London and receive certain benefits to be eligible for the ULEZ car and motorcycle scrappage programme.
Therefore, many elderly people have been discouraged by both the scheme and the newly expanded zones.
Writing on Reddit, the pensioner who has remained anonymous, explained: ‘I’m against the ULEZ expansion. I live in an outer London borough. I’m a pensioner, not rich but not on any benefits so ineligible for the scrappage scheme.
‘I drive a 20 year old diesel with two catalytic converters, a DPF and an EGR. Car very well looked after and has never failed a MOT and never spews dark exhaust smoke.’
He continued to say that due to mobility issues, he cannot use public transport and so replacing his car with a newer one will be a ‘nuisance’ to him.
Continuing, he said: ‘Back issues means I cannot use public transport (have tried but my back gets messed up).
‘I need a car to fetch groceries and visit friends and family. Replacing my car will be a nuisance and will cost me, I reckon my car is good for at least another ten years. Just my story, I’m sure there are many others.’
Bike shop owner – who owns nine cars – says ULEZ expansion will cause ‘chaos’
The ultra-low emission zone is to be expanded on August 29 this year to cover the whole of Greater London – seen here in purple
A bike shop owner – who owns nine cars – has claimed that ULEZ expansion will cause ‘chaos’ for locals.
Chris Penfold, 50, who has owned Deen’s Garage bike shop in Beckenham since 1999 has revealed that the ULEZ expansion could cost up to £80,000 to replace just three of his families cars to ensure they are compliant with the new extended scheme.
The shop owner says that he and his family drive up to three cars a day as part of his business and for hobbies such as horse riding and racing, report News Shopper.
The Bromley local says that the expansion will disproportionately affect residents in some parts of the capital who have to ‘drive for miles’ to get to their nearest shop.
Mr Penfold said: ‘It’s pretty endless, the chaos it’s going to cause and the discomfort for no great effect on the air because the air is alright anyway. I respect the fact that they want lower emissions, but why should you be able to pay a tax to still poison people?
‘Why are you paying money for that to happen? You should either have it and not pay or ban it, not be able to pay to use it.
‘It’s basically saying that people are getting really ill and dying and they’ve got a poor quality of life, but if you give us £12.50 it’s actually acceptable.’
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