More than 1,500 people are estimated to have attended an anti-ULEZ protest in Trafalgar Square ahead of the planned extension later this year. 

The expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) will see the whole of greater London incorporated on August 29, in a move Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said is “necessary to reduce the capital’s toxic air pollution, tackle the climate emergency and cut congestion in our city”. 

After that date, non-compliant vehicles, with some exemptions, will be charged a £12.50 daily fee to enter the zone. 

A £110 million scrappage scheme has recently been announced by the mayor to support residents transitioning to compliant vehicles, but there has been growing opposition to the extensions among several boroughs due to be impacted. 

Four Conservative-led councils, Hillingdon, Harrow, Bexley and Croydon, are among those to have announced their opposition by co-signing a letter to the mayor towards the end of last year. 

The Greater London Authority (GLA) Conservative group has also accused Mr Khan of “serious misconduct” over his ULEZ proposals.

While the scheme does have its supporters, there has also been considerable opposition from residents, including in Havering, some of whom attended the central London protest on January 28. 

Michelle Amato, 58, was one of those from the borough to go along to Trafalgar Square. 

Romford Recorder: An anti-ULEZ protestor holding a coffin at the Trafalgar Square demonstrationAn anti-ULEZ protestor holding a coffin at the Trafalgar Square demonstration (Image: Michelle Amato)

Based in Upminster, she said she attended the protest for a number of reasons. For one, she is against rolling out the extension during the cost-of-living crisis. 

She added she is also concerned about “that pensioner or care worker or low-income family that simply cannot afford to change their vehicle”, as well as “the small independent tradesman”. 

“If we take the tradesmen, for example, any cost will be passed onto the customer."

She said trips to do shopping could cost more than £15, including parking, before people "enter a shop".

"It will be the death of the high streets.

“At the end of the day, I understand about emissions in central London where traffic is at a standstill. But we are on the extreme edge of London with fields and farms around the corner.” 

One of the protest’s organisers, Kingsley Hamilton, told the Recorder about 1,500-plus people attended, and that it had “really good support”. 

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“[It was] very good. We got lots of support from passers-by.” 

Romford Recorder: Kingsley Hamilton said he estimated more than 1,500 protestors turned upKingsley Hamilton said he estimated more than 1,500 protestors turned up (Image: Michelle Amato)

A spokesperson for the mayor said the decision to extend the ULEZ “was not easy but necessary”, adding most of the 4,000 Londoners who die prematurely each year due to toxic air are in the outer boroughs. 

They added that around 85 per cent of vehicles in outer London already meet ULEZ standards, and that “the mayor is committed to working closely with all boroughs to install the required infrastructure so that we can build a greener, fairer and safer London for everyone”.