So here we are 3 weeks in and the ULEZ fightback shows no sign of stopping. In fact it appears to be getting stronger as more people find they are affected. The letters have started dropping on the doorstep, warnings at first but the fines will come. People that are suddenly realising that they have to pay £12.50 a day to make their usual journey to work or weekend visits to friend and shops.
The “bladerunners”, who told Sadiq Khan that they wouldn’t stop until all the cameras were taken down, have upped their game and a battle seems to be taking place. TFL don’t seem to be able to fix or replace the cameras as fast as they are being taken out of service in lots of ingenious ways. ULEZ cameras are being sprayed, cut, foamed, hacksawed, and the control boxes burnt concreted or even being prevented from installation by someone sitting in the hole. In fact, things have become somewhat extreme as even the traffic light poles are being sawn in half in frustration.
To overcome the lack of fixed cameras, TFL have sent out a fleet of around 20 mobile ULEZ camera vans that have to find a place to sit and catch out errant non compliant drivers. The phrase sitting duck comes to mind as their positions are being reported on the newly formed, and immediately popular, ULEZ Mobile Van Locations Facebook Group and people are finding ways to disrupt the recording of data. This includes parking in front of them with large vehicles like prisoners no longer accepted or sitting in front on them on a ladder with a placard, like Brett did. Some councils have also told people to report the vans that are parked illegally and one has even been given a parking ticket by Bexley. Go Bexley!
All this is happening whilst Sadiq Khan has flow to New York to tell them how successful his ULEZ expansion has been and how he is educating people. However the belief over here is he has educated people in ways he never expected. We have learnt about democracy and the lack of it, manipulation of data to fit the narrative, the bias of the BBC and mainstream media, we learnt about science, particulates, air quality and along with that we have learnt about all the deception, and lies within TFL, the GLA, the Government and the opposition. The irony of Sadiq Khan flying all those miles to have a bit of a back slapping event across the Atlantic, whilst we all pay £12.50 for the privilege of leaving our house, on the pretext that our exhaust pipes produce a few fumes, has not been lost on many people.
It seems that the charging system is in some confusion now too, as TFL appearing to be giving people ULEZ fines based of data captured by LEZ cameras. These cameras were never intended to be used as part of the ULEZ expansion roll out and may mean that many fines and charges could be rescinded. Along with this, there is also the small matter of the ULEZ timestamps which appear to be out of sync with British Summer Time, and may also have the effect of rendering the charges null and void.
September has seen the introduction of further 20mph zones throughout London and through the whole of Wales. This has brought out a Welsh version of our bladerunners who are feeling as persecuted there as we are here, and they have taken to the new signage much as we have to the ULEZ cameras. They have been defaced and demounted as the Welsh are starting to push back against the anti car rhetoric that seems to have taken over the whole of Great Britain. The petition to scrap the Welsh 20mph limit is growing fast and is the most signed in Senedd history.
Remember, they introduced the Poll Tax to all of us at once and we rebelled. By introducing unpopular schemes bit by bit they think we won’t notice and won’t fight back, like the boiling frog theory. Let’s not be boiled frogs!