Home Breaking News Fears self-employed and minority groups hit worst by ULEZ expansion as ‘roads...

Fears self-employed and minority groups hit worst by ULEZ expansion as ‘roads empty’


The Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) in London was expanded to 18 times its origin size on Monday to encompass the majority of Greater London, within the boundaries of the North and South Circular.

While the move has been welcomed by some, particularly environmentalists who see it as a positive step forward in the battle against pollution caused by road vehicles, others are criticising the decision, saying it disadvantages some of London’s poorer residents who have not been able to replace their old cars with low-emission ones in time.

One particular activist for London’s Black and Asian Minorities Ethnics (BAME) communities has argued that members of that community may have been disproportionately affected by the ULEZ expansion.

READ MORE: Furious Londoners compare ULEZ to ‘class war’ as system is rolled out to North and South Circular roads

“Roads inside NW London and A406 were empty today”, Akeela Ahmed (MBE) posted on Twitter on Monday.

“I know people who are BAME and self-employed who are now restricted from doing jobs because of the ULEZ extension. Why is it (that) those facing most inequalities are the ones that have to bear the brunt of making London’s air cleaner?” she asked.

“I know this is a controversial view. Perhaps I am missing something, perhaps there are policies in place to mitigate the impact on work of BAME and on low income?

“If you know of these please let me know. Has an equalities impact assessment been done before ULEZ was extended?”

ULEZ extension map: where the daily levy has been applied from October 25

The ULEZ was first introduced to Central London in 2019.

Although, when ULEZ was first introduced, Transport for London (TfL) did not fine drivers immediately for driving in the zone with vehicles that weren’t low-emission, it is unclear to many Londoners if a fine of £12.50 a day for breaking the rules of the expanded ULEZ will be implemented in the first month.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan seemingly dodged questions on whether drivers would be let off paying the £80 fines for not paying the ULEZ charge in the first weeks of the scheme while speaking at Stratford’s Olympic Park on Monday morning.

0 GettyImages 1028621910

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“If there was an amnesty I wouldn’t tell you would I? Otherwise no one would pay the fee!” the London Mayor said.

Transport for London is running a scrappage scheme to help the city’s poorest get rid of their old cars and purchase low-emissions cars within the scope of the ULEZ expansion.

But concerns have been raised about the time it may take for those eligible to receive the help to cover the costs of a new vehicle.

Sadiq Khan

Sadiq Khan launching the expanded ULEZ scheme on October 25th

According to Transport for London’s own estimates, approximately 135,000 drivers are expected to be affected by the ULEZ expansion, while AA estimates place the figure at around 300,000.

A report in the Evening Standard said that by 20 September, some 19,594 people had applied for the scrappage scheme but only 8,132 applications had been accepted, and only 6,854 applicants had received a pay out.

A separate report by This Is Money has also claimed that Transport for London only had enough funds left in its budget for the scheme to support a further 1,500 families, which would leave tens of thousands of low-income families in areas with a significant presence of BAME residents unable to access the help they need.

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