Title: Minister Condemns Attacks on Ulez Enforcement Vans
Introduction: The Police Minister, Chris Philp, expressed strong condemnation on Friday regarding the actions of anti-Ulez campaigners who have been targeting enforcement vans. These vans, responsible for monitoring compliance with the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez) regulations, have been subjected to various forms of vandalism, as highlighted through images shared on social media platforms. The incidents have raised concerns about the safety of both the vans and the public.
Vandalism and Defiance: Evidence shared on social media platforms portrays the extent of the vandalism endured by these enforcement vans. The acts range from graffiti daubed on the vehicles to covering their cameras with bags and even deflating their tires. In one instance, a van had to be rescued by a recovery truck due to the damage sustained.
Community Action: Notably, a Facebook group with over 4,000 members has emerged, encouraging individuals to report sightings of these enforcement vans. This grassroots mobilization underscores the intense debate and opposition surrounding the expansion of Ulez into Outer London.
Minister’s Condemnation: Chris Philp, Member of Parliament for Croydon South, unequivocally condemned these acts of vandalism. Speaking on LBC Radio, he emphasized that he could not support criminal damage and violence in any form. He expressed his opposition to Ulez, characterizing it as an imposition on his constituents and Outer Londoners, attributing it to Sadiq Khan’s policies, which he labeled as greedy and detrimental to those with lower incomes.
Ulez and Health Concerns: Health experts have argued that Ulez will contribute to mitigating toxic air in London, which has adverse effects on children’s lung growth and public health in general. However, critics have accused Mayor Sadiq Khan of rushing the expansion, leaving little time for drivers of polluting vehicles to make necessary changes.
Enforcement and Fines: Ulez enforcement relies on automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to identify non-compliant vehicles. Those who drive within the zone without a compliant vehicle and fail to pay the £12.50 daily fee initially receive warning letters. In the near future, Transport for London (TfL) is expected to begin issuing fines of £180, with a reduced rate of £90 if paid within 14 days.
TfL’s Response: A TfL spokesman condemned vandalism and stressed that all incidents were reported to the police for investigation. Vandalism poses risks to both perpetrators, who may face prosecution and injury, and the safety of the public. TfL emphasized its commitment to maintaining the Ulez operation across London, promptly repairing or replacing damaged cameras. They assured the public that their extensive camera network would support the scheme’s effective operation.
Legal Implications: Official figures from the Metropolitan Police revealed that there were 510 reported crimes related to Ulez cameras between April and August. While two arrests were made, the Crown Prosecution Service discontinued one case. Mayor Sadiq Khan reiterated the importance of lawful, safe, and peaceful protest, emphasizing the need to remain within the bounds of the law.