Will Sadiq Khan’s car pollution tax make classic racing disappear? ULEZ expansion threatens annual London to Brighton mini-race
- Sadiq Khan’s decision to extend the area will add £25 to the cost of the race
- The race attracts over 1,500 Mini i owners each May
This year’s annual London to Brighton mini-race is set to be the last, due to the capital’s Ultra Low Emission Zone.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s decision to extend the zone – in which the most polluting cars must pay a fee – will add £25 to the cost of the race.
The race attracts over 1,500 Mini owners each May in a colorful convoy along a 45-mile course.
But now an organizer behind the 37-year-old event has written on Facebook: “Unfortunately this will probably be the last Mini Run due to the Ulez extension.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s decision to extend the zone – in which the most polluting cars must pay a fee – will add £25 to the cost of the race
The race attracts over 1,500 Mini owners each May in a colorful convoy along a 45-mile course
From August 29, the zone will be extended to cover departure at Cheam, with the most polluting cars charged at £12.50 per day.
Although exemptions are in place for some classic cars, one organizer said around half of race regulars would be hit with a two-day charge as many motorists camp overnight.
He added: “We already have to sell tickets for £45 and not many people will be willing to pay £70 to attend.”
The mayor’s spokesman said: “The decision to expand the Ulez was one of the most difficult he had to make.”
Danny Davids, who restores Minis for a living, has attended the annual event for over 30 years. The 38-year-old, who lives in Uckfield, accused Sadiq Khan of being “out of touch” with everyday motorists.
He added: “It’s devastating and incredibly disappointing as the event and the Mini are UK institutions, as are the red buses.” Sutton Council has come out against the expansion, arguing it will cut residents off from family and work.
Tory MP Gareth Bacon has rallied behind the expansion of ULEZ, which will cover his constituency of Orpington.
Mr Bacon said: “It would be bitterly sad if Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ killed off this long-running event that brings Mini enthusiasts together.
“ULEZ’s expansion is not just a blatant cash grab, but an assault on the outskirts of London, which the Mayor does not understand and care about.”
Karl McCartney, Tory MP and former Transport Minister, said: “As a JCW Mini owner myself and a die-hard classic car believer, I am appalled at Mr Khan’s plans which could see this race come to an end. ”
Last week, the mayor of London was accused of excluding more than 5,000 voices against the expansion of the scheme before it was given the green light.
If these had been included, it is believed that the level of opposition could have reached 62.4%, or nearly two-thirds.