Residents living on a suburban street have been divided by Sadiq Khan’s ultra low emission zone expansion which has forced them to shell out thousands for a new car, ditching holiday plans, dipping into funeral funds and creating mounting debts.
Maiden Lane, in the south east of the capital, sits on the border between London and Kent – from August 29 it will be on the ULEZ front line.
The expansion will see some neighbours having to pay £25 to take their children to school and pay £12.50 for a food shop, while a Gordon Ramsay chef has been forced to scrap his BMW.
The street is split. Those living on one side of the road in Crayford area within the London borough of Bexley and will benefit from the expansion of the London Mayor’s scrappage scheme by the end of this month – getting up to £7,000 for their old vehicles.
Those living across the road, however, are within the country of Kent and fall under Dartford Council – therefore are not eligible to claim cash for their old motors.
Mr Khan has announced that the ULEZ scrappage scheme – designed to encourage owners of older, more polluting cars and vans to ditch their vehicles for newer ones – would be expanded to cover anyone in the capital with an appropriately old motor.
The street is divided with one side of the road under the control of Bexley Council and the other under Dartford Council
Residents of the London borough of Bexley (in red) can claim thousands of pounds for their old car or van under the ULEZ scrappage scheme. Those on the other side of the boundary in Kent cannot claim anything – even if they live on the same street as their London neighbours
Chef Marius Dima, 41, who lives in an end of terraced Victorian house on the Dartford, sold his BMW 5 series, with a 57 plate, for just £1,000
Self-employed window fitter and anti-ULEZ campaigner Ian Balm, 47, (pictured with his wife Andrea, 47) has just weeks to get rid of his old transit an and replace it with a new compliant vehicle
Part time cleaner Joanne Shaw-Barnett, 51, had to ditch their diesel Citroen C3 with 65,000 miles on the clock to part exchanged it for £200 for a compliant £3,000 Fiat 500
But those living on the wrong side of the boundary cannot put themselves forward for the cash payment towards a new compliant car – and will risk having to pay £12.50 a day to get to work or school inside the ULEZ restrictions zone.
Now frustrated locals on the road have told how they plan to ditch their holiday plans in order to get a new car while another said they risked more debt to pay for vehicles as interest rates and the cost of living rises.
Others fumed that their lives will be ‘ruined’ by the ULEZ expansion, leaving them unable to do basic things such as going shopping or visiting friends.
Part time cleaner Joanne Shaw-Barnett, 51, and removal man husband Graham, 54, have had to ditch their diesel Citroen C3 with 65,000 miles on the clock to part exchanged it for £200 for a compliant £3,000 Fiat 500.
Mrs Shaw-Barnett said: ‘The money is not going towards a fan to help clear the air. And you can still drive your car into London if you are willing to pay the £12.50 so at the end of the day it’s a load of rubbish.
‘We don’t get scrappage. Even if we were in Bexley we’re not on benefits so we still wouldn’t be entitled. And to me for someone on benefits how can you afford to run a car?
‘When we found out about it we were narked off. We knew it would affect us.
The street is divided with one side of the road under the control of Bexley Council and the other under Dartford Council
From August 29 the ULEZ zone will expand to Greater London
On the Bexley side of the road graphic designer and father of one Paul Knight, 59, already has a car which is compliant to the Ulez scheme
Pensioner Charles Whitewood, 81, who has 28 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren had to get rid of his Mercedes 320 for £2,000
Martin Fullerton Bell, 91, bought a new Ford Focus for £14,500 to replace his old automatic car
The ULEZ expansion scheme is set to start on August 29. Sadiq Khan has pumped another £50 million into the scrappage scheme, setting its cost at an eye watering £160 million
‘It meant we didn’t have a holiday – it was either car or a holiday. We both work and at the moment we can just about affording to pay the mortgage and pay bills and everything else.
‘You feel like your working just to live and your not getting any treats or family time.
‘Now we’ve got this.
‘We all know something has got to be done about the environment but I personally do not think that getting old cars off the road is going to make a slight bit of difference.
‘We’ve had friends go abroad on holiday and say you don’t see one electric car.
‘There are massive countries around the world who are doing nothing about it and then we’re a little island and he thinks by stopping it in London it’s going to make a difference.’
She added: ‘It’s not like they’ve said you’ve got to give your car up. One of the old ladies I work for said she’s going to keep it and just damn well pay it. But I refuse to give him my money.
‘It’s just a money grabbing exercise. It’s where they can get the money from and I’m afraid it’s the people who don’t fit into the benefits who are getting hit the most – Average Joe Bloggs as we call them.’
Self-employed window fitter and anti-ULEZ campaigner Ian Balm, 47, has just weeks to get rid of his old transit an and replace it with a new compliant vehicle which will cost him a minimum £15,000.
Throughout the street a number of residents have placed anti-ULEZ stickers on their vans
Another van sign read ‘£12.50 for what. No Ulez. Khan out!’
He had only bought the van less than two years ago.
Mr Balm, who lives on the Dartford side of the road, said: ‘I bought that for £2,500 but I’ll be lucky to get £400 for it.
‘He’s making a big mistake. I can see it ending up being like France where they have riots.’
He added: ‘I’d dread to think how it will will do to the elderly. I mean that’s scary. That’s not on.’
Wife Andrea, also 47, said: ‘It’s punishing the tradespeople, the real hands on workers being hit the hardest – like the self employed. It’s causing issues all over the place.’
Ian: ‘It’s forcing people to go into debt. There’s nothing wrong with my van. It’s well looked after.
‘Even if you got the £7,000 scrappage scheme, it’s at least a minimum, £15,000-£20.000 for a new van.
‘I’m self-employed. It’s frightening. There’s no other way at looking at it.’
Mrs Balm added: ‘We’ve got a certain amount of savings but we still have to borrow on top of that in order to get him a van.
‘Even that’s a struggle because of the interest rates and everything else has gone up.
Maiden Lane, in the south east of the capital, sits on the border between London and Kent – from August 29 it will be on the ULEZ front line
Another van is covered in anti-Ulez stickers
The ULEZ will come into force on the street on August 29
‘It’s another monthly expenditure we really don’t need.’
The couple said that they will have to pay £200 a month minimum for repayments on a loan but Andrea said: ‘It’s still cheaper than £12.50 a day to drive on that side of the road.
‘Paying £12.50 a day is not going to make the air cleaner. Just charging people to have to go into the same place. They’ve still got to go in regardless. It doesn’t make any difference.’
Chef Marius Dima, 41, who lives in an end of terraced Victorian house on the Dartford side of the road works for one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants in central London.
The married father of three said he had to sell his BMW 5 series 57 plate for just £1,000 – half it’s value – when he found out about the scheme and buy a compliant five seater VW Touran for £4,500. He was not eligible for scrappage.
He said: ‘To be honest we’re stuffed. All the money we had for a family holiday we have had to use to buy a new car. So our kids have not been on holiday. It’s all gone.
‘We found out about it at the beginning of the year. I didn’t believe it was going to happen. But we risked having to pay £12.50 every time we drove the car.’
Mr Dima said his wife Elena, 38, usually takes their three children aged seven, nine and 13 to school – a 40 minutes walk away.
But twice a week he would take the kids in the car to school.
Mr Balm, who lives on the Dartford side of the road, said he only bought his van two years ago but will be lucky to get £400 for it’
He said: ‘It I drove them to school twice a week that’s another £25.
‘If we want to go food shopping in Crayford that would be another £12.50. It’s not the best time to be honest.’
Asked about Mr Khan’s scheme, he said: ‘I think everything he does he does it sitting at a computer. He hasn’t actually been out on the streets talking to people.’
And when asked if he would like to see the London mayor to come down to the street to listen to residents he said: ‘That would be amazing. But it won’t happen.’
Pensioner Charles Whitewood, 81, who has 28 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren had to get rid of his Mercedes 320 for £2,000.
Mr Whitewood, married to wife Norma, 75, have lived for 18 years on the Dartford side of the road.
He said: ‘It’s all about money. I’d like them to get rid of the scheme,
‘I had to get rid of my Merc. I didn’t want to risk getting done for £12.50 each time. What can you do?’
Martin Fullerton Bell, 91, bought a new Ford Focus for £14,500 to replace his old automatic car.
Retired insurance broker Mike Gallafent, 71 revealed that he owns four motor bikes, none of which are ULEZ compliant
Alan Barnett, 58 who lives on the side of Maiden Lane that falls within Kent revealed that he would not be able to take his elderly mother Ruth shopping in his 2008 registered van once ULEZ is expanded
He said: ‘I actually had to move my funeral money. I had to break into that.
‘I think they’ve taken it too far. It’s come out too far.
‘When you look up in the sky on a good day – that sky is criss-crossed with airplane and I think they’e doing more harm than the cars are.’
On the Bexley side of the road graphic designer and father of one Paul Knight, 59, already has a car which is compliant to the Ulez scheme.
He said: ‘If it makes the air cleaner then I’m all for it. We get a lot of traffic on this road as it is a bit of a rat run. But I don’t know how they are going to police it. They’ll have to make the road a one way system.’
Neighbour Steve Rackham, 64, who does not drive a car is a retired London Underground duty manager and married father of three.
He said he thinks the scheme will add traffic to the area and will making parking on the Dartford side of the road an issue.
He said: ‘I think its a disgusting idea. We haven’t had any consultation on it. It’s a case of its coming in, get used to it.’
But regardless of which side of Maiden Lane residents live on, all claimed that ULEZ would have a negative impact on their lives.
Raj Patel, 55 who owns two cars that are ULEZ compliant revealed that he had offered to drive neighbours into the area if they owned older cars and could not afford to pay the £12.50 charge
Mr Khan has announced that the ULEZ scrappage scheme – designed to encourage owners of older, more polluting cars and vans to ditch their vehicles for newer ones
Retired insurance broker Mike Gallafent, 71 revealed that he owns four motor bikes, none of which are ULEZ compliant and faces the prospect of paying the charge the moment he leaves his driveway on one of them.
His home located on the side of Maiden Lane that falls within the ULEZ.
Mr Gallafent protested: ‘It’s absolutely ridiculous. The moment I leave my driveway I will be in the ULEZ area but none of my motorbikes are compliant so I would have to pay the charge. I love these bikes and I don’t see why I should be forced to get rid of them, so I won’t be doing that. I’m not interested in the scrappage scheme.
‘I’ve worked hard all my life and riding my bikes is one of the things I enjoy most in my retirement.’
He revealed that he intended to wheel his bike without starting it over to the side of Maiden Lane that is outside the ULEZ and then ride it.
He grinned: ‘I’m just gonna walk my bike across the road so that I will be in Dartford and then make sure that I only ride around the Kent side. I love going out on one of my bikes to visit friends or just go out with other riders and I’m not going to let Sadiq Khan stop me.
‘This whole thing has been badly thought out and is going to have a terrible impact on a lot of us on Maiden Lane and tens of thousands of others around London. Mr Khan is not listening to us and needs to stop the expansion of the zone.’
Maiden Lane houses on the right are Bexley Council and houses left are Dartford (Kent) Residents and Drivers in Maiden Lane
Alan Barnett, 58 who lives on the side of Maiden Lane that falls within Kent revealed that he would not be able to take his elderly mother Ruth shopping in his 2008 registered van once ULEZ is expanded because the vehicle is not compliant.
He fumed: ‘I go into the ULEZ area all the time because I have friends there and also take my dear old mum shopping. My van is quite old, and I can’t afford to pay £12.50 each time I go. It’s a joke, because if I lived on the opposite side of Maiden Lane then I would be entitled to get money for my old van but because I’m in Kent, I won’t’ get a penny.
‘It’s a rubbish scheme and isn’t going to make a difference to cleaning the air. It’s just going to make life difficult for us. The whole thing is a con. It’s just an excuse to get more money out of us.’
Ruth, 84 cried: ‘I don’t think Sadiq Khan has properly thought this scheme through. He’s caused a lot of problems for me and the least he can do is to go and get my shopping.’
Andrea Balm, 47 revealed that her carpenter husband Ian was trying to sell his 2008 registered van as they live on the Kent side of Maiden Lane but is unable to find any buyers.
She cried: ‘He goes into what will be the new ULEZ area at least five or six times per week. He paid £3,000 for the van a few years ago and now can’t even get anybody to buy it for £1,000 because nobody wants vehicles that are not ULEZ compliant.
‘The scrappage scheme is a disgrace. It’s not fair that we’re not entitled to any money but if we lived across the road, we would be. How does that make sense? Things are difficult for us financially as it is, and we really can’t afford to buy a new van.
‘All Sadiq Khan has done is make things difficult for those of us who are trying to make an honest living.’
As residents of Maiden Lane brace themselves for the start of the ULEZ being expanded some with compliant cars have offered to help those facing difficulties.
Raj Patel, 55 who owns two cars that are ULEZ compliant revealed that he had offered to drive neighbours into the area if they owned older cars and could not afford to pay the £12.50 charge.
He said: ‘ULEZ doesn’t affect me, but I know some of my neighbours are going to have problems. I’ve told them that I’ll do what I can to help them out and taken them into the ULEZ area because many of them shop there or visit friends or relatives in the area.
‘I don’t think it’s fair on them because we pay enough taxes as it is.’
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: ‘The Mayor has been clear that the decision to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone London-wide was not an easy one, but necessary to tackle toxic air pollution. Around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely each year due to air pollution, children are growing up with stunted lungs and thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.
‘The Mayor has continued to listen to the concerns of Londoners over recent months, and has announced a huge expansion to his scrappage scheme, and his plan to uplift it to £160m, so that all Londoners with non ULEZ-compliant cars will be eligible for financial support to switch to greener, less polluting modes of transport.
‘TfL are turning around applications as quickly as possible and the response times are good. The Mayor urges Londoners with non-compliant cars to apply as quickly as possible once they become eligible for £,2000 grants on August 21st. Most vehicle scrappage companies also give customers money for their vehicle on top of the TfL grant – meaning people can often get hundreds of pounds more to scrap their car.’