Sadiq Khan deploys Ulez vans to catch drivers after wave of vigilante vandalism on cameras

2 September 2023, 21:23 | Updated: 2 September 2023, 21:26

Mobile camera units have been deployed following a wave of Ulez camera vandalism.
Mobile camera units have been deployed following a wave of Ulez camera vandalism. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Camera vans are now operating across the capital in a bid to catch cars that are non-compliant with the Ulez.

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Mobile CCTV units have been deployed on vans to catch out drivers in areas with high rates of people failing to comply with the new charges.

Transport for London is using 20 mobile units across the expanded zone to fill gaps in areas where there are less cameras or they are not operating.

The van cameras have been located in different areas, such as Heathrow, where one was spotted behind a roadside sign checking vehicles as they come off the M25.

TfL’s data protection impact assessment says that the new mobile units can move between boroughs on any day, meaning they can target regions with the highest rates of non-compliance based on intelligence for that day.

"The camera locations will be determined to maximise the effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme, chiefly by locating the mobile ANPR camera vehicles where ANPR cameras are not operationally working or have not been installed," the impact assessment says.

The vans, which can only detect non-compliant vehicles when stationary, are marked with a camera symbol on the back doors with the blue TfL logo.

It comes after it emerged that at least 450 new cameras out of 1,762 are out of action, according to Julie's Ulez Map, which uses crowd-sourced data to track the condition of the cameras.

The Ulez was expanded on Tuesday.
The Ulez was expanded on Tuesday. Picture: Alamy

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Julie's Ulez Map was set up in response to a lack of data from TfL on the location of the cameras.

The Ulez, which aims to improve air quality, was expanded on Tuesday to cover London in its entirety, amid anger from some motorists who now have to pay a fee.

Vehicles that do not meet minimum emissions standards are liable for a £12.50 daily charge if they are used anywhere in London.

The charge is in place every day of the year except Christmas Day, and those who do not pay face fines of up to £180.

Roughly one in five cameras are currently out of action in the Ulez as a whole, but this rises to one in four for the expanded zone in outer London.

A TfL spokesman said: "We have an extensive camera network, which is sufficient to support the effective operation of the scheme. We have deployed some mobile units as part of the mix of cameras.

"Anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle within the expanded zone will be detected, and we advise everyone to check whether their vehicle is compliant and to consider the various support that is available."