Furious ULEZ protesters were heard chanting “Get Khan Out” as they called for the expansion of the ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) to be scrapped.
Demonstrators gathered in Tooting, South London, to demand a delay or stoppage to the expansion of the controversial scheme.
Cars beeped at Beep for Freedom banners held by cheering protesters outside Tooting Broadway station.
Thousands of people oppose the scheme, aimed at cleaning up London’s dirty air, and protesters are calling for mayor Sadiq Khan to resign.
Some claimed that the scheme was not about the environment, but about money instead.
Speaking to MyLondon, Warren Stephens, 50, said: “It is saying you are ‘OK to drive your polluting car if you give me £12.50’.
“It is all about money, otherwise they would ban petrol and polluting cars.”
Another demonstration attendee, Peter Huntingford, 57, said he was against the ULEZ because of the impact it could have on the public’s working and social lives.
He explained: “It will mean I will not be able to go to work in certain areas, or go shopping where I want to, or to take my kids to certain areas. It will mean I am just being pushed out of the areas that I want to be. “
From Tuesday, August 29, the ULEZ will be expanded to the whole of London, making it the world’s largest pollution charging zone.
People who drive into the zone in a non-compliant vehicle will have to pay £12.50 or risk a £180 fine.
In recent months Transport for London (TfL) have introduced a £160million scheme which allows residents, charities, businesses and other affected drivers to claim grants.
Despite TfL’s scheme, the GMB Union has called for the expansion of the ULEZ which could exacerbate the cost of living crisis for those who travel into the capital regularly.
Speaking on LBC, GMB London regional organiser Trevlyn McLeod said: “Listen to the people, Mr Khan, listen to the people who are going to suffer, listen to the people who can’t afford now to go to work or never mind put food on the table.
“We all want clean air for our children and generations, but you’ve gone in too far, too deep and it’s going to cost people’s lives and livelihoods.”
Mr McLeod added: “People are angry, people are absolutely angry, and so are our members who can’t afford £12.50 a day or to buy a new car. Many workers will absolutely be affected.”
Justifying the expansion, Transport for London has said: “To help clear London’s air and improve health, the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is expanding across all London boroughs from 29 August 2023.
“Poor air quality is impacting the health of Londoners, and it’s mainly caused by polluting vehicles. The latest data from the London Atmospheric Emissions Inventory (LAEI, 2019) shows that, although improvements are being made, road transport is the single biggest contributor of nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter emissions in Greater London.
“Londoners are developing life-changing illnesses such as cancer, asthma and lung disease, and there is a higher risk of dementia in older people. Air pollution even contributes to the premature death of thousands of Londoners every year. It’s not just a central London problem. In fact, the greatest number of deaths related to air pollution occur in outer London areas. That’s why the ULEZ is expanding across all London boroughs.”