A couple have told of their anger at having to pay a £12.50 ULEZ charge every time they turn left out of their driveway.
George and Vera Dowler’s home is unfortunately positioned right on the low emission zone border in Eltham in south east London.
They face a cash charge any time they drove their older cars past the traffic lights near their home after last’s month’s expansion of ULEZ in their area.
George and Vera Dowler have been left unhappy wit the ULEZ since its expansion
It has left to George shelling out ‘nearly £40,000’ on new vehicles while his wife Vera has been forced to park her older vehicle, which does not meet ULEZ standards, at her work’s garage around the corner.
The couple have lived in their south east London house for 32 years but now found themselves right on the edge of the ULEZ boundary when rules changed.
While their house is inside the zone, turning left past the cameras and traffic lights and towards the nearby roundabout was enough to see them face a charge.
George said: ‘Sadiq Khan has cost me nearly £40,000 in motors.
‘I’ve had to buy a car and pay £7,000 for a new van, which is no better than the one we’ve got.
‘I’ve got a perfectly good van that can do 5,000 miles a year, yet a van that meets these emissions can do 100,000 miles more.
‘Who’s polluting the air more, me or him?’
The couple say these cameras on the traffic lights outside their home in Eltham, south east London, pictured, catch out older cars
George and Vera Dowler face a cash charge any time they drove their older cars past the traffic lights near their home after last’s month’s expansion of ULEZ in their area
Vera, who works in admin, called the situation ‘disgusting’ and said she now left her older car around the corner.
This means she can escape the cameras perched on top of the traffic lights, which they say catches older vehicles out right outside their home.
George added: ‘It’s all about money.
‘If people are prepared to still use their old vehicles, the air would be exactly the same, so it’s all about money.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at the Queen Elizabeth Park in Stratford, east London, after London’s pollution charge zone for older vehicles was significantly expanded, affecting tens of thousands of motorists
‘What is the difference between the air here and the air the other side of the traffic lights?
‘Also, I’ve been brought up around lorries and fumes, like thousands of other people.
‘I’m 72 years of age, still fit as a fiddle.
‘Surely it’s not the air, surely it’s the food that people eat. I just don’t get it all.
‘I’ve got a perfectly good van that if they want to use it on the other side of that roundabout.
ULEZ was to cover central London from 2019, but under the new plans it was extended massively to all of inner London two years later
‘There’s another 10 years left in it and they can use it, and I can’t.’
Vera added: ‘What about the new F1 racing?’, referencing to the reported negotiations London Mayor Khan is in to bring a Formula One track to the capital.
She believed that undermined his climate credentials.
She said: ‘It’s absolutely crazy!’
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘We know toxic air pollution in London leads to 4,000 premature deaths a year, stunts the growth of children’s lungs and worsens chronic illnesses, such as asthma.
ULEZ now stretches to cover an area surrounded by the North and South Circular roads. The ULEZ is separate from the Low Emission Zone (LEZ), which implemented tougher emissions standards for heavy diesel vehicles from March 1, 2021
‘The bold action taken by Sadiq since he became Mayor has already led to a 94 per cent reduction in the number of Londoners living in areas that exceed the legal limit for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels.
‘The gap between the most and least deprived areas for exposure to nitrogen dioxide has narrowed by up to 50 per cent.
’87 per cent of cars seen travelling in the expanded zone already meet the standards and to help more Londoners switch to cleaner vehicles, Sadiq has invested £61 million in scrappage schemes, which have helped replace or retrofit more than 12,000 vehicles since 2019.’
Earlier this month, motorists elsewhere on the border told the Local Democracy Reporting Service they were not bothered by the rule changes.
WHAT IS THE ULEZ?
In April 2019, the Mayor of London introduced the ULEZ, an area in which drivers of more polluting vehicles must pay a daily charge.
It aims to reduce air pollution emissions from road transport and accelerating compliance with EU air quality standards.
It previously only covered the same area of central London as the Congestion Charge.
But since October 25 this year, it includes all areas within the North and South Circular roads in an attempt to boost air quality.
The ULEZ is one of several London air pollution policies introduced since 2016 like the Low Emission Zone, Low Emission Bus Zones, and bus and taxi electrification.