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ULEZ expansion equipment has been attacked by vandals

Those aggrieved by the extension of the low-emission zone have taken matters into their own hands

Published: 10 Mar 2023

Saboteurs are vandalising a swathe of new cameras, installed as part of the ultra-low-emission zone expansion in London. Cut cables and blacked-out camera lenses are the ways in which some rebellious residents living in the areas affected by the expansion are showing their displeasure at the incoming charges.

The ULEZ area is meant to kerb the use of high-polluting vehicles by charging them. Putting forward the irrefutable argument of the 4,000 preventable premature deaths annually, London mayor Sadiq Khan has sanctioned the installation of a further 2,750 cameras in the outer boroughs of the UK’s capital. The charges of the newly expanded zone will apply from August 2023.

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The cameras monitor the registrations entering and exiting the zone, and - via automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology - charge drivers a daily £12.50-plus (depending on vehicle type) to improve the air quality in heavily populated areas. 

However, the measures have not been welcomed. In addition to some serious flag-waving by some MPs, calling the additional charges ‘disproportionate’ during a cost-of-living crisis, four London boroughs — Bromley, Bexley, Harrow and Hillingdon — and Surrey County Council have formed a coalition to mount a legal challenge against Transport for London (TfL). 

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: "It is deeply disappointing to see opposition to a policy being used as an excuse for criminal damage. This petty vandalism of London’s essential transport infrastructure is completely unacceptable."

But even those against the expansion have condemned the bad behaviour, Susan Hall, leader of the London Assembly Conservatives and chair of the GLA Police and Crime Committee, told The Telegraph: “While Sadiq Khan is wrong to put cameras up and go against what the people of outer London want, vandalising cameras and doing stuff against the law is unacceptable and should be stopped.”

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