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‘Honk if you hate Ulez’: Activists gather in Trafalgar Square for anti-Ulez demonstration

 (PA Wire)
(PA Wire)

Protesters have gathered in Trafalgar Square demanding an end to London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez).

Demonstrators wearing yellow high-vis jackets gathered along the road near Nelson’s Column in central London and urged passing motorists to “honk if you hate Ulez”.

Drivers of passing vehicles including cars, motorbikes, black cabs and buses obliged by beeping their horns.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan extended the zone from within the North and South Circular roads to cover all London boroughs from August 29 last year.

Vehicles used in the Ulez area that do not meet minimum emissions standards are liable for a £12.50 daily fee.

Figures released by TfL in October showed around 60,000 vehicle owners a day were paying the charge.

Much of the protesters’ anger was directed towards Mr Khan.

Messages written on placards included “stop the toxic air lie”, “Stop the khanage”, and “beware, you’re on khandid camera”.

“Net zero is a war on humanity”, another sign read.

Protester Terry Burt, from Biggin Hill, claimed Ulez was the “worst thing to happen to London since the Blitz”.

The 69-year-old retiree was holding a placard featuring a picture of Mr Khan with “liar” written on his forehead.

Mr Burt told the PA news agency: “Normal people who need a vehicle to go to work can’t afford to buy one.

“All my cars are compliant. It’s me that’s not compliant.

“I spoke to a lady just the other day she was in tears. She bought a car with her husband, a diesel.

“It was non-compliant. Her son needed to go to hospital every day. She couldn’t afford the £12.50. That’s the sort of people it’s affecting.”

Mr Burt, who lives 500 metres from the edge of the zone, said he regularly stops new Ulez infrastructure from being installed in his area by holding a protest.

“We just stand there and protest, and because we’re protesting, under health and safety rules they can’t install the cameras,” he said.

“We resist it in every in every way.

“Khan has basically lied through his teeth to say that the air quality is improved.

“Maybe in inner London, I can understand that, but not outer London, there is beautiful countryside where I live.

“They’ll charge everybody, so if you think you’re compliant now, look out, they’ll be coming to you in the future.”

Also at the protest was Piers Corbyn – the brother of former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn – who arrived in a blue 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier with “Ulez, can’t pay! Won’t pay!” written on it.

Reform UK London mayoral candidate Howard Cox, who is challenging Mr Khan in the May local elections, described the low-emission scheme as unnecessary.

He told the PA news agency at the protest: “Good, decent, honest, taxpaying, hardworking people are being impacted by Ulez.

“It’s such a sad thing because we do not need Ulez. Science proves we don’t need it.

“Stop picking on the motorists, they’re the commercial heartbeat of the economy.”

Asked if the scheme had affected him personally, Mr Cox said: “I’ve got a compliant vehicle. So I’m OK. But that’s not the point.

“I’m bombarded by people like plumbers and sole traders, people like that who can’t afford to change.

“The £2,000 scrappage scheme doesn’t touch the sides.

“Electric vehicles are even more expensive. They’re not necessary as green as people think from cradle-to-grave production.”

Londoners with vehicles that fall foul of emission standards can claim up to £2,000 when their non-compliant vehicles are scrapped.