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Well, here we are a few months into the expansion of the ULEZ zone and hence this business being swallowed within its dark chasm.

We at Colin Ferns Ltd were, and indeed still are, vehemently opposed to this expansion and here’s why:

1.      The consultation process was risible. The fact that the consultation existed at all was extremely poorly promulgated and of those that did know about it and responded, a significant majority were against the expansion. When questioned about this, the mayor’s response was simply to say it wasn’t a referendum therefore not binding. (Which in layman’s terms is, we don’t give a stuff what the public think and we’ll what we jolly well like thankyou).

2.      The expansion significantly impacted a much greater number of people than the numbers dictated by the voting register since those living and/or working around the periphery of London had no vote. Consequently, all of those people, especially tradesmen, who had vehicles that were “not compliant” found the value of their vehicles plummeting. Additionally, the cost of doing business, visiting friends or relatives, visiting the sites of this once magnificent city or indeed travelling for any legitimate reason  anywhere in London escalated. Residents who had relied on the services of tradesmen who live around the periphery suddenly found that the trademan they had relied on for years was suddenly less interested in attending addresses within the M25.

3.      Public awareness was also a huge problem. Many, many residents of not just London but the whole of the UK are not connected to the internet and not interested in the news on TV or radio. Consequently they had no idea that their  journey into the capital was now going to land them with a Penalty of £180.00 which TFL would very graciously discount by 50% if paid quickly. Ignorance is no excuse, but highway robbery should have died out when Dick Turpin met his maker. There was nothing in the way of courtesy as there is with the Thames crossings whereby the first time you transgress without paying they will write a very civilized letter informing you of your transgression and forgiving you for the oversight. Nothing of the sort with the ULEZ zone; “what, you didn’t know about it? We don’t care, just give us loads of money or we’ll send the lads around”. It’s positively Pythonesque.

4.      The signage, such that it is, make no mention of a charge for entering. You, the innocent motorist quietly going about your business in exactly the same way you and your predecessors have done for decades, are now treated like a criminal.

5.      Whenever The Mayor was questioned about the implementation of the new ULEZ zone, his response was always “do you want to kill kids?” This statement is nothing short of emotional blackmail and relies on the fact the ONE, yes ONE, child has had pollution written as a causal effect of the death of a child on the Death Certificate. It is well documented that the London Underground has pollution level an order of magnitude greater than anything at street level yet the mayor will happily prefer you to use that than drive your “non compliant” car.

6.      Notice I’ve used quotation marks for “compliant”. This is because compliance is a poorly specified requirement. There are many vehicles that meet the emissions specification required to be classified by TFL as “compliant” but because their manufacturer was not obliged to declare those emissions to the DVLA when the car was first registered, the DVLA does not hold the information. TFL therefore ASSUME such cars are not compliant. This can be overcome by individual owners if they have sufficient knowledge to know how to obtain the information and what to do with it.  Many people are paying ULEZ charges when they shouldn’t be but TFL place the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of the poor owner.

7.      Paying £12.50 to enter the ULEZ zone if your car is deemed to be “non-compliant” is an abhorrent notion that although your are “killing kids”, give TFL £12.50 and we’ll turn a blind eye. If pollution really was the problem then a) £12.50 won’t fix it and b) the long term solution is already in place with the abolition of cars powered by internal combustion engines in 2035 (was 2030 but slowly the realization is dawning on policy makers that it’s unachievable) anyway.

8.      Compensation for those owning a “non-compliant” vehicle is offered by TFL but such compensation can in no way offset the cost of buying a replacement car, not least because the value of a “compliant” car has rocketed due to the demand created by the expansion of ULEZ in the first place.

9.      The Mayor is quite clearly completely out of touch with the reality of modern life for the common working man or indeed of electric car ownership as a viable alternative for anything but a small percentage of the population.