Business owner claims he has spent £150K replacing vehicles to meet ULEZ standards

By Joe Coughlan, Local Democracy Reporter

A resident claims he has spent £150,000 on replacing vehicles for his business to become ULEZ compliant.

Joe Howell, 63, lives in Keston, Bromley, and runs a waste paper disposal company in Woolwich.

As of last month, motorists in the capital must now pay a £12.50 daily charge to drive in London if their vehicles are not deemed environmentally friendly enough.

The controversial scheme has attracted criticism from Londoners living in more rural areas, with Mr Howell saying he’s totally against the initiative.

Mr Howell said: “Everything’s now conforming but I’m still against ULEZ… I’ve had to buy a new van, new lorries. I applied for the scrappage scheme but got turned down. So it’s cost me a lot of money, about £150,000.”

He added: “Everyone’s doing it but I know a lot of people have given up. £2,000 or £7,000, whatever you want, for a van doesn’t cover it if you’ve got a fleet of 30 vans. The guy I know packed up, he had 31 vans and he’s laid 275 people off, all because of ULEZ.”

Mr Howell said the lack of transport options in Bromley borough, such as no London Underground stations, makes people more reliant on cars to get around.

Transport for London announced a new set of express bus routes called Superloop to connect outer London.

With the route stopping at Bromley and Bethlem Royal Hospital in Beckenham before heading to Croydon, locals claim the service does not come near enough to areas such as Biggin Hill.

Mr Howell said: “My son lives in Biggin Hill and they’ve got no station, no Underground, nothing and yet he’s got to pay the charge. He can’t get to work because the bus service is so poor down there.”

Bromley council reportedly spent £140,000 legally challenging the ULEZ expansion alongside the London boroughs of Bexley, Harrow, Hillingdon and Surrey County Council.

The High Court ruled the scheme as lawful on July 28, closing the case, but Bromley council leader Colin Smith said the fight to have the scheme reversed is “far from over”.

Cllr Smith said: “I have been warning about the damage [ULEZ] will cause to businesses, jobs and vital care networks across outer London for over a year now, yet still the Mayor ploughs on, seemingly oblivious to the widespread pain and misery that he is causing to so many people.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London previously said: “The Mayor has been clear that while the decision to expand ULEZ was an incredibly difficult one, he could not stand by and do nothing while around 4,000 Londoners are dying prematurely each year due to air pollution, children are growing up with stunted lungs and thousands of people in our city are developing life-changing illnesses, such as cancer, lung disease, dementia and asthma.”

The spokesperson added that nine out of ten cars seen driving in outer London are already compliant under ULEZ regulations.

They also said that the Mayor of London is continuing to call on the Government to provide additional funding to support motorists wishing to switch to greener vehicles.

The Mayor of London was approached for comment, but had not responded at the time of publication.

Pictured top: Joe Howell, 63, said he spent £150,000 replacing vehicles in his business to be ULEZ compliant (Picture: Joe Coughlan)

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