It is officially – & # 39; the world's first ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) has been launched in central London.
The hope is that older, more polluting vehicles, which are subject to the daily tax of £ 12.50, will be a thing of the past. And by the time the Ulez reached the suburbs of London in October 2021, the capital quality crisis of the capital will be too.
Air pollution claims up to 36,000 lives in the UK every year, according to research from King & # 39; s College London. The most vulnerable communities of the capital are among the most affected regions & # 39; s. Every step to make up for this must be celebrated; however, a thought must be spared for the people whose cars are being demolished to do so.
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The town hall estimates that up to 60,000 road users per day will be affected by the Ulez reimbursement in the first phase, and that number will increase to 138,000 when the zone is extended to the ring roads in the North and South of the Netherlands. All diesel cars built before 2015 are subject to the tax, together with petrol cars built before 2005.
Many of those vehicles will be owned by Londoners in jobs that pay less than the London living wage, of which there are nearly 700,000, who were encouraged to switch to diesel through tax breaks introduced by the Labor government in 2001.
Cleaners and rescuers, who often rely on driving to reach their customers, face an impossible choice to either peel £ 12.50 extra per day, despite less than £ 10.55 per hour, or are not trying to get them worthless car sales and new ones to buy.
In the process of tackling the air pollution that is destroying the most disadvantaged areas of London, the Ulez has uncovered a comprehensive inequality in the city – one that imposes the burden of helping the poorest people in London at the door of people who have only one be a little better off.
The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, announced in February that £ 25 million will be reserved to help low-paid Londoners switch to cleaner vehicles in 2021. However, it is unclear to what extent this money will be distributed among potentially tens of thousands of Londoners.
Nearly 80,000 people have now signed a petition on Change.org to block the Ulez extension. The comments drive home the Ulez dishonesty. "Another unfair tax on people who can least afford it," writes a commentator. "How are low-income people meant to pay for this ridiculous attack?" Another asks.
Research indicates that the average gap in exposure to harmful nitrogen dioxide pollution between the most disadvantaged and least disadvantaged areas in London, currently more than a quarter, will be reduced by 72 percent in 2030 thanks to the Ulez. Perverted, this improvement will come on the back of the poorest rather than the richest. Supercars will not be compromised when diesel will be family hatchbacks. Wealthy Londoners, who can easily afford to replace their cars, will not be bothered by the change when less affluent Londoners might be bothered by it.
A chat about coffee with my father last week exposed this inequality for me. He worked as a respiratory doctor in the now closed London chest hospital in Tower Hamlets, one of London's most disadvantaged neighborhoods. When he drove me to the station, in the same Diesel Skoda that he owned since childhood, he talked about how he witnessed firsthand the effect of poor air quality on asthma patients.
According to the latest research, four asthma patients per day, including one child, are admitted to London for air pollution. In the same sense, he spoke of his own excitement about replacing his Ulez-applicable car before 2021.
It is a strange situation, I thought, when patients will be more bothered by the measure to help them than the doctor who treated them.
As the fog clears, Ulez exposes one thing: London remains an unequal and relentless place that gives the richest people the freedom to get away, while equipping the poorest residents.