Now furious anti-Ulez activists spray cameras with insulating foam to disable them as police crackdown continues

19 September 2023, 13:59

Ulez expanded to cover all of London on August 29
Ulez expanded to cover all of London on August 29. Picture: Shutterstock/social media
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Ulez cameras in west London have been left covered in insulating foam as vandals continue to protest against Sadiq Khan's new policy.

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On the same day Ulez cameras were covered in insulating foam in Hillingdon, one protestor held up a sign saying 'Ulez camera' while sat on a Transport for London (TfL) van in east London.

The protestor garnered support among anti-Ulez activists online, with one person commenting: "Let's hear it for the lad sitting on the ladders blocking the Ulez camera on Rainham Road.

"This made my morning power to the people."

Ulez cameras have been covered in foam in Hillingdon
Ulez cameras have been covered in foam in Hillingdon. Picture: Shutterstock
Vandals have been targeting cameras across London
Vandals have been targeting cameras across London. Picture: Shutterstock

The Ultra Low Emission Zone, which had been in place for inner London for several years, was expanded to cover every part of London at the end of last month.

From August 29, drivers without Ulez-compliant cars have been forced to pay £12.50 every day they drive.

The Mayor of London previously said that expanding the Ulez was "one of the hardest decisions of my life" but said he wanted to be "on the right side of history" when it comes to tackling the climate crisis.

Read More: Ulez is a 'greedy money grab' targeting outer Londoners, policing minister says - but condemns 'spy van' attacks

Read More: Where are the Ulez cameras and how do they work?

There had been criticism of Sadiq Khan's original scrappage scheme, which originally only applied to people with Ulez complaint cars who relied on the state for financial support. For example, those on benefits.

But just before the Ulez was expanded, the scrappage scheme was extended to everyone with a non-Ulez compliant car.

A Met Police operation is underway to stop Ulez camera damage
A Met Police operation is underway to stop Ulez camera damage. Picture: Shutterstock

It followed a High Court ruling which declared Mr Khan's Ulez expansion was lawful following a legal challenge by five councils, both in and outside of London.

Anti-Ulez sentiment has continued to grow regardless, with cameras damaged across the city.

Just days after the Ulez was expanded, one in four cameras were damaged or destroyed, according to one map.

It is not only Ulez cameras that have been targeted by vandals, but also vans that are 'used by TfL to detected whether cars meet London's emissions standards'.

The vans are equipped with ANPR cameras which scan the number plates of passing vehicles to ensure if they are compliant with Ulez.

The vans do not directly say they are enforcing Ulez but have Transport for London markings and say they are carrying ANPR cameras.

The Metropolitan Police launched Operation Eremon to stop people attacking the cameras.

A senior officer has been appointed to collect the reports of vandalism and theft and coordinate police investigations.

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