ULEZ cameras have been installed across Harrow ahead of the plan to make the charge London-wide from August.
Some Harrow residents and councillors are said to be ‘up in arms’ over the recent installation of the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) cameras in the Pinner and Hatch End areas in Harrow, as part of Mayor of London’s Sadiq Khan’s plan to expand the ULEZ to cover all of London.
The move has been met with opposition from many locals, who argue that the ULEZ will disproportionately affect drivers in outer London, where public transport is not as reliable.
Conservative Councillor Matthew Goodwin-Freeman for Hatch End, who represents the area where the cameras were installed, took to Twitter to express his frustration with the decision, stating that the cameras had been put up without the consent of Harrow Council.
He called the move “disgraceful” and accused the Mayor of ploughing ahead with his plans regardless of local opinion.
Transport for London (TfL) has defended the decision, stating that all necessary permitting processes had been followed, and that the ULEZ expansion was necessary to address the public health crisis caused by air pollution.
“Around 4,000 Londoners are dying prematurely every year due to toxic air, children are growing up with stunted lungs and thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses attributable to pollution, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma,” said a TfL spokesperson in a statement to Harrow Online.
The ULEZ charges drivers of older, more polluting vehicles an additional fee for driving within a designated zone in central London.
The expansion of the zone to cover all of London from August is part of the Mayor’s wider plan to improve air quality in the capital.
While many have welcomed the move, others have raised concerns about the impact on businesses and individuals who rely on their vehicles to get around.
Last month, Harrow Council leader Paul Osborn said: “Harrow Council remains steadfast in its opposition to Sadiq Khan’s money making ULEZ expansion. This scheme, which the Mayor’s own research suggests makes almost no improvements to air quality, will hit our poorest and most vulnerable residents. This is the wrong solution at the wrong time.
“We have significant concerns about the consultation process. Internal correspondence, which has now been made public, reveals the Mayor’s office intervened in the consultation process, in a manner which affected the results and reduced the percentage opposed to Sadiq Khan’s ULEZ expansion.
“This included a decision at the end of the consultation to exclude thousands of responses from the results.
“The Mayor chose to ignore the results of his own consultation, so now we will see him in court.”
The installation of cameras in Harrow is likely to fuel further debate on the issue in the lead up to the ULEZ expansion later this year.