A pensioner has said he will consider parking in Hertfordshire to avoid being hit with a daily £12.50 charge if a zone that clamps down on pollution is extended to cover the whole of London. 

David Brand, 86, who lives in Stanmore, said he could be forced to take drastic measures if Sadiq Khan imposes stricter emissions measures next year.

Drivers face the prospect of paying to drive into Greater London if the ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) is expanded – while Hertfordshire could also be impacted by London drivers choosing to park in the county in order to avoid the zone.

This includes Mr Brand, who is also contemplating getting rid of his silver Vauxhall Calibra, which he has owned for almost 20 years. 

Watford Observer: The Ultra Low Emission Zone was recently expanded up to but not including the North and South Circular. Credit: PAThe Ultra Low Emission Zone was recently expanded up to but not including the North and South Circular. Credit: PA

Mr Brand, whose car would be liable for the charge, said: “It’s an absolute joke. They can’t expect people to pay £12.50 a day. My pension wouldn’t cover it. This would be taking away my only real form of transport. The more I think about it, the more angry I get. 

“What’s to stop me leaving my car over the border in Hertfordshire? And if everyone does that, they’ll get annoyed, understandably. So where does it stop?”

Read more: Consultation launched to expand ULEZ to whole of Greater London

The former electrical engineer, who also volunteered for the Royal Air Force, said the plans would punish people who rely on their cars, particularly older and disabled people. He described the potential extension as a “slap in the face” given the hardships many are facing at this time.

Mr Brand added: “You’ve got people who can’t afford to buy food, can’t afford to heat their homes and now they want to take away another freedom. What about all the vans and lorries? This is going to put some people out of business.”

Watford Observer: The current ULEZ zoneThe current ULEZ zone

He accepted there needs to be conversations about damage to the environment, but there are other ways of tackling the issue without charging residents. 

Mr Brand’s Conservative run council – Harrow – recently passed a motion outlining its “strong opposition” to the plans and called on the mayor to spend the money earmarked for the extension on other environmentally-friendly transport improvements. 

Read more: ULEZ Expansion - see the full proposed expansion map

Watford Observer: London Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. Credit: PALondon Labour mayor Sadiq Khan. Credit: PA

When he announced the consultation on the proposed expansion, which ended today, Mr Khan said it was vital London takes action to tackle climate change. He said: “The triple challenges of tackling toxic air pollution, the climate emergency and congestion mean we need to further reduce emissions from vehicles in London. 

“We simply don’t have time to waste. The climate emergency means we only have a small window of opportunity left to reduce carbon emissions to help save the planet.

“And despite the world-leading progress we have made over the last few years, there is still far too much toxic air pollution permanently damaging the lungs of young Londoners and leading to thousands of deaths every year, with the greatest number of deaths attributable to air pollution in outer London boroughs.” 

He added he would consider the financial impact this would have on Londoners but that approving the expansion could mean that “lives will be saved”.

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