Sunday, 3 Mar 2024

‘I lead an anti-ULEZ group and Sadiq Khan isn’t listening — we’re f****d off’

Kay Burley challenges Sadiq Khan over ULEZ expansion

Sadiq Khan has undercut democracy by pushing through his new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) legislation, Express.co.uk has been told.

It comes as the boundary of the zone extended to cover all London boroughs was given the green light after five Conservative-run councils had challenged the policy in the High Court.

A £12.50-day charge applies to anyone driving in the ULEZ if the vehicle doesn’t meet certain emission standards, if the vehicle is a taxi, or if the vehicle has disabled or disabled passenger tax status.

Mr Khan and ULEZ’s proponents say the extension is needed in order to keep Londoners healthy and lessen the health burden from breathing poor air.

However, Kingsley Hamilton, owner of the ‘Action Against Unfair ULEZ’ Facebook group which has 70,000 members, says the expansion is wholly unfair and ignores those in need — and ultimately undermines democracy.

READ MORE Furious drivers could be ‘doctoring number plates’ to avoid £12.50 ULEZ charge

Mr Hamilton recently ran as an independent in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election which the Labour Party was initially favoured to win but eventually lost out to the Tories based on its ULEZ policy.

He came seventh, with 0.8 percent of the vote, but says his opinion and voice reflect that of tens if not hundreds of thousands of hard-up Londoners who are facing a desperate situation due to the daily charge.

“Sadiq Khan made no mention of ULEZ in his manifesto, he got elected on the promise that he wasn’t going to bring it in — but he still did,” he told Express.co.uk.

“He has f****d about with democracy and changed it back to first past the post, rather than keeping the election process as proportional representation. We don’t think he should be in a position to change something that strikes at the heart of politics so much.

“In doing this, he has f****d off a lot of people, and we won’t stop fighting until it’s sorted. He didn’t have the mandate to do this. People know this, and they aren’t stupid.”

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Mr Hamilton says he and his proponents believe Mr Khan should have waited until the 2024 London Mayoral elections before expanding the ULEZ.

This would, he argued, have allowed Mr Khan to gauge the popularity of such a policy among the electorate.

“He hasn’t listened to us, ULEZ is a fallacy, and as far as I’m concerned, Labour is finished because of it,” Mr Hamilton added.

Mr Khan has vehemently defended his decision to push the expansion through, hitting back at criticism from officials and points made by the likes of Mr Hamilton.

He accused the Conservatives of creating a “bogus war on the motorist”, writing in a statement: “The Conservatives have overseen 13 years of decline – with soaring rents and mortgages, devastated public services, sky-high bills and the highest tax burden on working people in a generation. They have nothing to offer. That’s why they are desperate to confect a bogus war on the motorist. Division is both their strategy and overriding priority.

“Regrettably, fostering this type of damaging politics is more important to Rishi Sunak right now than the harm being done to our children’s lungs by air pollution or the decline forced on our economy because of their recklessness and incompetence.

“My objection is not to good-faith debate, but to the Tories sowing discord and division, in a desperate attempt to distract from the mess they’ve made of our country.”

As it stands, the new scheme creates the largest clean air zone in the world, covering all of Greater London and protecting some four million people from bad air quality.

Mr Khan claims that 214 “life years” will be saved in 2023 alone because of ULEZ, the additional number of years that Londoners as a whole can expect to live.

Mr Hamilton said he isn’t “ignorant of the health complications” and the dire situation many have been plunged into as a result of bad air.

“I know this, my members know this, something has to change,” he said. “We need to be realistic, there is a problem. The correct way to deal with it is to use biofuels and renewables.

“But we, the average people, are the ones bearing the cost. It should be the energy firms that are paying for the policy, not working people.”

He said many of his members who rely on their vehicles have voiced concerns that they will no longer be able to afford to live due to the new daily charge.

There is a scrappage scheme available to those who want to sell their cars now that they come under the new zone, and eligible drivers can get up to £2,000 for their non-compliant car.

Some drivers who have scrapped their cars or were paying ULEZ fines are now finding out that their vehicles were in fact compliant with the new rules.

As many as 100,000 petrol cars registered between 1999 and 2005 may in fact meet the criteria as they were made to cleaner standards, according to The Times.

The problem is affecting drivers of models from manufacturers including BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes and Toyota.

Trevor Wood, chairman of the British Independent Motor Trade Association, told the newspaper: “They should put the whole scheme on hold and no fines should be issued until this has been sorted out.”

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