Climate campaigners have hit out at Havering Residents Association (HRA), which runs the council, after some of its members attended a protest against the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) expansion in London.

Deputy council leader Gillian Ford was among those pictured at the demonstration near Trafalgar Square on Saturday (February 25).

The photos were posted by the HRA on its Facebook page, with the group saying: "H.R.A are currently at Trafalgar Square to protest the expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone."

Under the plans, vehicles that do not meet emission standards would need to be scrapped or retrofitted with the help of a grant payment or face a £12.50 daily charge.

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced last November that ULEZ would be expanded to all of London from August 29 this year to ensure cleaner air for all.

Read More: Havering doing 'own research' into how to challenge ULEZ

But the move has seen opposition among a number of boroughs, with Havering recently admitting it refused to sign a legal agreement with Transport for London granting permission to install CCTV cameras and signs.

Some authorities, including Bexley and Harrow, have even launched legal action against the expansion plans.

Councillor Ford, Havering's cabinet member for adults and health, claimed that "a high percentage" of home care staff come into Havering from outside London.

Romford Recorder: Cllr Gillian FordCllr Gillian Ford (Image: Havering Council)

She added: "A number of them have said they cannot afford to do it. It is a huge concern for me as I need to ensure that our residents are safe and have adequate care."

Cllr Ford also cited similar challenges facing emergency services staff, adding: “There are no trains when they have to do their night shifts and things for example."

READ MORE: ULEZ-inspired petition backed by 100s in Havering gets reply

She said the council is introducing more electric charging points on high streets and in car parks, as well as investing in ULEZ-compliant vehicles to transport people in the borough.

But Havering Climate Coalition - made up of groups including Havering Cyclists, Extinction Rebellion Havering and Havering Friends of the Earth - released a statement in which they criticised the HRA's appearance at the protest.

They said the HRA should be lobbying for an improved scrappage scheme, "not demonstrating against a crucial public health initiative".

They accused the "leading members" of the HRA who attended of "a gross misuse of power".

When quizzed on this quote by the Recorder, Cllr Ford said she is in favour of cleaner air and promotes green measures.

A spokesperson for Mr Khan has previously told this paper that around 4,000 Londoners die prematurely every year due to toxic air, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in its outer boroughs.

They also referenced the mayor’s £110million scrappage scheme, adding: “Any money received from the scheme will be reinvested into running and improving London’s transport network, such as expanding bus routes in outer London.”