Elderly Residents 'Missing Funerals Due to ULEZ'

Claim that cost is discouraging attendance at Mortlake Crematorium

Mortlake Crematorium Opened In 1939

January 27, 2023

Elderly residents have missed loved ones’ funerals after the Ultra-Low Emission Zone was extended to a local crematorium, a councillor has revealed. Richmond Council passed a motion on Tuesday, 24 January, calling for a delay to further expansion plans so more measures to support residents can be put in place.

Areas in Barnes, Mortlake, East Sheen, North Richmond and Kew as well as parts of Putney are already in the ULEZ – including Mortlake Crematorium – after it was expanded to the North and South Circular roads in 2021. This slaps a £12.50 daily charge on non-compliant vehicles driving in these areas.

Lib Dem councillor Penelope Frost raised concerns about elderly locals when discussing the latest expansion plans for the ULEZ to cover all London boroughs by 29 August.

Responding to Green councillor Andrée Frieze’s claim that she is not “inundated” with emails calling for a delay, Councillor Frost said, “She may not have been inundated by people who have problems with the increase in the ULEZ area but I have certainly heard from some of our older residents who have actually just not attended funerals of friends and loved ones at Mortlake Crematorium because their cars will no longer get them to that site.

“I think that because we have to take into account those people who do have older cars and they’re not yet in a position to change the cars, and certainly in Ham and Petersham you look very hard to find electric charging points. Given that situation, I think we do have to look for some pause before this goes ahead because of the amount of damage it’s going to cause to our older and more isolated residents.”

Lib Dem councillor Alexander Ehmann, who put forward the motion, said the authority supports the expansion but called for more funding for the £110 million scrappage scheme to help residents get rid of non-compliant cars and a delay of between six to 12 months. The motion also calls for public transport improvements in Richmond.

Councillor Ehmann said, “If we want fewer polluting vehicles on the streets on day one, then TfL have to resource that transition. Without it, we’ll simply see a failure of the scheme with TfL coffers swelling with thousands of £12.50 payments – each of those payments a small testament to a vehicle which could and should have been off the road with the right support.”

He added, “The second weakness in the proposed scheme is the timing and we’ve made clear that a modest postponement of the scheme, either by delay or by grandfathering older vehicles for a limited period would help.”

Councillor Ehmann said the authority isn’t “asking for a postponement in some sort of effort to send the proposals to a place where they die” and that it cares “passionately about improving air quality” – already introducing local schemes to help.

Lib Dem councillor Elizabeth Gant said, “Most of us would like to breathe cleaner air but the Mayor of London should recognise that not all areas of London have fast and accessible public transport and that families on low and even average incomes are likely to find transitioning away from their cars to be a difficult adjustment.”

Cllr Ehmann later added that the authority wants to use the motion to “strengthen our negotiating position with TfL to underline the changes that we want to see”.

He said, “If residents get more money to transition, the delay may be shorter, the delay might not even be necessary at all, but in a constrained financial environment I think we’re realistic about how much additional money may be possible though nonetheless we’re arguing for it. So delay is necessary to enable people to put aside the money they themselves need to raise to deal with those changing circumstances.”

City Hall previously said the expansion is a result of research showing that ULEZ has so far helped to reduce roadside pollution levels by 44 per cent in central London and 20pc in inner London.

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter


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