Saturday, 20 Apr 2024

Furious locals forced to pay £12.50 ULEZ charge ‘just to travel five yards’

A neighbourhood in London has been split in two by Sadiq Khan’s controversial ultra-low emission zone.

Motorists in Northwood face a £12.50 charge by turning into the wrong road under the ULEZ scheme, which was extended to all the capital’s boroughs on August 29.

Part of the new ULEZ boundary runs parallel to, but does not include, Green Lane in the town. However, ULEZ does include Hallowell Road and Maxwell Road which feed into Green Lane.

A business owner whose cafe lies just inside the new ULEZ boundary at the corner of Hallowell Road and Green Lane told MyLondon he could not afford to buy a vehicle which complies with the zone’s emissions limits.

People who drive in the zone in a vehicle which does not meet minimum emissions standards now have to pay a £12.50 daily fee or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.

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Idenitied only by his first name, Farri, the owner of Cofix Café said: “At the moment I am not parking my car on the road with the (ULEZ) camera. I have joined the leisure centre [which sits outside of the zone] and they have allowed me to leave my car there.”

But he said with the start of term this week, the centre will need the parking spaces so from then on he will have to pay £12.50 every day to travel just five yards to get to work.

A ULEZ monitoring camera has been installed at the top of Hallowell Road around the corner from Cofix Café where Farri used to park to unload his stock.

He said: “It’s in the worst location for the businesses along here. Not just me, everybody is angry.”

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He added: “It’s silly, honestly silly. I go to the cash and carry everyday, for cans of tomato and everything, going the extra five yards will now cost £12.50. For that I have to sell an extra 10 teas, I’m already working a 90 hour week because I am low on staff.”

Fast food delivery driver, Oktay, who only wanted his first name identified, said his scooter is not ULEZ compliant and he passes the camera during every shift.

Oktay, 32, said: “I used to get tips from customers when I dropped off the food and that would help cover my transport costs. Now everyone orders and pays on the app and they never add a tip. No one has change on them either anymore so I’m also losing an extra £2 per delivery.”

Self-employed drivers will be able to claim tax relief on the ULEZ charge, with workers with non-compliant vehicles can claim if their journey was “exclusively for the purposes of the trade”.

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Some Northwood residents support the aim to improve London’s air quality, but question whether it is needed on the outskirts of the capital.

Janet, 74, said she was “amazed” her 2002 reg car is compliant, adding: “Most people think clean air is a good idea in principle but they don’t think this is necessary right out here. It’s done its job in central London but out here I just don’t think you need it.”

She added: “It’s also very bad for local businesses. Some have clients that live just up the road and they will have to pass the costs onto their customers. Many small companies will end up going out of business.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said the decision to expand the ULEZ zone was not an easy one, but the Mr Khan has a duty to tackle toxic air pollution and it will result in cleaner air for millions.

The spokesperson said they understood businesses are struggling as a result of the cost of living crisis and highlighted the £160 million scrappage scheme designed to help micro-businesses and sole traders, as well as charities and those on lower incomes and with disabilities.

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