Low emission zone rhetoric ramped up as ULEZ expansion approaches

Sadiq Khan’s expansion of the London Low Emission Zone which will happen in less than two weeks has never been far from the news but, as the big day gets nearer, the headlines are becoming increasingly lurid.

The MyLondon website are running with ‘The staggering amount it will cost TfL to put up every camera and sign as the ULEZ expands’.  For added spice, we are told that this information has been made available as the result of a Freedom of Information request because nothing screams ‘this is the stuff they don’t want you to know!’ than that.

The ‘staggering amount’ turns out to be £75m, which seems disappointingly proportionate, given that Transport for London told everyone three months ago that they expect the total costs to be in the range of £130 -140m, a figure which includes: ‘spend for systems design, development and testing; on-street infrastructure design, procurement and delivery including camera installation and signage; marketing and media campaign; and legal and consultation costs.’

The Mailonline – an outlet that has fumed furiously over the protests of eco-zealots – have been getting up close and personal with the glamourously dubbed ‘blade runners’ who have been vandalising scores of ULEZ cameras. Even going so far as to obligingly blur their faces as they are photographed holding stolen cameras.

There is collateral damage outside London too. You know perfectly well that when you see the second-city’s clean air zone being referred to as ‘Birmingham’s version of Ulez’ you’re not reading the words of a committed supporter of the scheme.

Continuing further north, possibly the most spectacular effort comes from the Scottish Daily Express who have this week trumpeted: ‘Glasgow low emission zone blamed for rise in rats as refuse vehicles are banned from ‘decaying’ city centre”. The story is illustrated by a photograph of the city, onto which a large rat has been badly Photoshopped. 

A spokesman for the General and Municipal Workers’ Union then goes off-message when he complains: ‘There is a rat infestation and the reason is because of the cuts. There are rats everywhere. Rat infestation is rife across Glasgow. It is nonsense to say the rats have only become more visible. They are there because of the cuts.’




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