Local residents who live just outside of Sadiq Khan’s hated ULEZ scheme say motorists are offering them £100 a month if they park in their driveway.
Khan’s plans for an Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) are due to come into effect on August 29 and will cover all 32 districts of the capital.
Motorists driving on Moor Lane, which becomes Bridge Road in Chessington, south-west London, do not have to pay the ULEZ charge, but if they turn off at any point they will immediately enter the zone.
People leaving the road to get to a train station, pub car park or many businesses along the road will have to pay the £12.50 fee if their vehicle doesn’t meet emissions standards.
This means motorists traveling on the route must stay on the road, avoid a roundabout entirely and return the same way to avoid being charged.
The City of Chessington, part of the London Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames, will be included in the ULEZ extension when it comes into effect in two days.
Many surrounding areas will not be included in the fee, meaning Chessington will form something of a ULEZ Peninsula.
Vispi Irani, 68, who lives in Bridge Road, said a man had offered him and his neighbors £100 a month to park in his driveway and make the most of the toll-free corridor.
Mr Irani said: “I find it ridiculous.
“On the street we live on we don’t have to pay for it, but I plan on changing my car so I don’t have to pay for the others.”
“A guy came by and put notes through my and my neighbors’ door.
“He offered him £100 a month to park in our driveway so he couldn’t pay the fee.
“I don’t know how he planned to come here. I guess he would use public transport.”
“We have a big drive so I called him but he didn’t answer.”
“NO WIN SITUATION”
A Chessington business owner said the situation at the border of the extended zone has put his employees in a “hopeless situation”.
Tony Oak, 46, has run a garbage disposal company in the area for almost three years.
His company is based about 100m outside the new ULEZ zone but says all four of its employees have to drive through it to get to work and cannot afford to modernize their cars.
Mr Oak said: “My staff have to pay £12.50 every day they come to work. That’s about £4,000 a year.”
“They feel like they’re working an extra hour for practically nothing.
“One of my employees is considering working elsewhere because of the additional costs.
“We’re completely surrounded by the zone, it’s a no-win situation.”
“There is no bus here. The nearest bus stop is half a mile away.”
“We travel in and out of the zone during working hours. These are costs that we pass on to the customer.”
“We can’t afford to buy new company vehicles, it just adds up.”
“We’ve looked at electric vehicles in the past, but they don’t have the range we need – we drive too many miles every day.”
“Then there are the costs of installing chargers.
“I know a lot of other companies here are having the same problem.”
A window fitter who owns a shop just off Bridge Road and asked not to be named said he wasn’t sure if his premises were within the zone or not.
He said: “Officially we’re not in the zone but there’s a camera across the street that might catch you. I’m really not sure.”
“Fortunately, my van is exempt from tax due to its age – just like that.
“Even if this road is not in the zone, you simply cannot avoid it here.
“It only seems to affect the poorest people.
“If you turn to go shopping or something like that, you’re in the zone.
“Deliveries to my business get more expensive when we’re in the zone. The costs will be booked on our invoice.”
David, 83, a retired health worker who declined to give his last name, lives in the new zone.
“A MONEY-MAKING DEVICE”
He said, “What’s the benefit? It’s a money-making device.”
“I know electricians who will no longer work in this area due to the new zone.
“That’s all people talk about here, they’re angry about it and groaning.
“If you turn left or right anywhere off Bridge Road, you have to pay.
“People should have a choice.”
Speaking of expansion in the near future, Khan recently said: “The decision to expand ULEZ was a very difficult one and I did not take it lightly and I will continue to do whatever I can to address any concerns Londoners may have.”
“The ULEZ has already reduced air pollution from toxic nitrogen dioxide by almost half in central London and by a fifth in central London.”
“The forthcoming expansion will allow five million more Londoners to breathe cleaner air.”
In contrast to the congestion charge, the ULEZ operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 364 days a year – with the exception of Christmas Day on December 25th.
Older vehicles, including motorcycles, that do not meet the stricter emission standards must pay £12.50 per day to use them on the ULEZ.
The fee runs from midnight to midnight. This means that if your trip starts before midnight and lasts until the next day, you will be billed for two days.
As a rule of thumb, the affected vehicles are diesel vehicles from before 2015 and petrol vehicles from before 2006.
110 million pounds scrapping bonus was created to help small businesses, charities and households receiving child support or Universal Credit get rid of non-compliant vehicles.