Angry Scenes over ULEZ at City Hall Event

Mayor barracked while Martin Lewis raises concerns about scheme's impact

Money saving expert Martin Lewis question timing of the expansion

February 3, 2023

An angry lorry driver was escorted from City Hall on Thursday (2 February) after challenging London mayor Sadiq Khan on his plan to expand the Ultra Low Emission Zone (Ulez).

At the same event, money saving expert Martin Lewis appeared to raise concerns over the timing of the plan.

Mr Lewis was speaking to the mayor at a Q&A session about how Londoners can navigate the cost-of-living crisis – but Mr Khan faced heckling about Ulez from audience member Angie Donnelly.

Ms Donnelly, a 58-year-old lorry driver from Dagenham, could be heard shouting, “You’ve got people struggling down in Essex, that can’t feed their kids…

“You should put the Ulez in Essex on hold. Let people get back on their feet, let people get a life, let people get over the pandemic…

“Please, wait for Essex. We’re not London, we’re Essex…”

The mayor wants to expand the Ulez across all 33 Greater London boroughs, including those which were historically part of Essex, on 29 August to reduce road pollution.

It will mean an additional 200,000 drivers a day – who mainly drive older, more polluting vehicles – will have to pay the £12.50 daily levy.

But Ms Donnelly said people in her area “won’t be able to deal with the stress” of the daily charge.

Just before she shouted out, Mr Lewis had questioned the plan himself.

The money saving expert said, “Mr Mayor, if I may be honest, while the reasons behind that are good, the timing is pretty tough, to do it this year, amidst the cost of living crisis.”

Mr Lewis said the people affected by the plan would “tend to be not the wealthiest”.

“The timing’s quite tough, isn’t it?”, he said.

Protestor Angie Donnelly, 58
Protestor Angie Donnelly, 58

Mr Khan said he had this week launched £110m scrappage scheme to help people replace their high-polluting vehicles, and that he was continuing to lobby the Government for more funding.

“What is the right number of people to die, to make it acceptable [to expand the Ulez]?” he said.

He later responded to Ms Donnelly, “Can I be quite clear – I’m very sorry for the stress on you. I’m not going to apologise for cleaning the air in London.”

The protestor questioned the accuracy of claims about the number of premature deaths caused by air pollution locally – and she was eventually approached by security.

As security escorted her from the event, she shouted, “You’re not a mayor, you’re not a people’s person, you’re a con man.”

Speaking outside, Ms Donnelly said she would not be affected by the Ulez expansion herself, but she was concerned about other people.

“If you go on Facebook, where I live, you can see people are upset about this,” she said.

“They’re not earning the money. My wages aren’t great, but I survive. And the cost-of-living crisis is going to send people into a financial stoop, so why should they suffer because one man wants to make a decision [to expand Ulez].”

Sadiq Khan and Martin Lewis were speaking at an event about the cost of living crisis.
Sadiq Khan and Martin Lewis were speaking at an event about the cost of living crisis

Speaking after the event, Mr Khan said: “I fully understand people’s concerns.

“We’ve got to do a better job clearly letting people know about the record-breaking scrappage scheme and I appreciate people in Essex aren’t happy – that’s why we’re lobbying the government for more support.”

Noah Vickers - Local Democracy Reporter


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