A woman who stumbled across a damaged Ultra-Low Emission Zone (Ulez) camera covered in an orange ‘No Ulez’ sign in Harefield, Greater London, said the ulez charge was ‘too harsh’ .
AJ Simpson, 36, from Wimbleton, told the PA news agency that she was returning from a day’s work as a children’s entertainer on Monday when she saw the dilapidated Ulez camera.
Ms Simpson said: “I was walking down the street and I noticed it was on the ground but there was a little too much traffic on that street so I just turned around and came back and took a picture of it.”
She posted the photo to Facebook with the caption, “Someone really didn’t want the ULEZ camera in Harefield.”
She said she was “amused” by the sight because “usually people just turn off the cameras completely, but this one had basically been given a mask.”
“They covered the top of the camera head and cut it off completely, and I’m like, ‘Wow, that’s something, isn’t it?’”
“It was in the middle of nowhere. There is a truck yard very close by so I feel sorry for the owner.”
Anti-Ulez vigilantes have repeatedly targeted surveillance cameras in recent months and protesters have taken to the streets to voice their opposition to the Ulez Zone, which was extended to the outskirts of London on Tuesday.
Drivers found driving in the zone with a vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards must pay a daily charge of £12.50 or risk a £180 fine, reduced to £90 if paid within 14 days.
Footage circulated on social media showing people dubbed blade runners cutting camera cables or removing devices.
The Metropolitan Police said they had recorded 288 crimes linked to the cameras as of August 1.
Ms Simpson said: “I do think we have to be careful about the volume of our emissions, but you don’t have to charge people for it.”
She said the daily charge of £12.50 is “a lot of money for people, especially because the prices of electricity, gas and everything else go up and then people have to switch cars.”
“Yes, we have to deal with it, but not like this. That’s too hard.”
Ms Simpson said the people who damage and steal Ulez cameras are “not harming anyone”.
She said, “It sounds harsh because I shouldn’t say these people can go out there and do whatever they want, but it doesn’t actually hurt anyone.”
“Yes, it makes the government pay more money to fix it, but it makes the general public pay money to go to work.”
Ms Simpson said she lives in Wimbledon and “none of our cameras are being touched”, which she suspects is because “we may have a lot more street cameras” that discourage people from damaging the security cameras.
She said she was “upset” that her father had to get rid of his van because of the high cost of traveling in the Ulez areas.
She is sad: “My father had to get rid of his van. He’s a building contractor and has been at Wimbledon for 20 years.
“That’s his livelihood: he travels around London, walks around London and goes to every job.
“That’s a lot of money. I know contractors make money, but we have to charge a lot to cover our costs, which everything else has been piled on.”
She asked, “Why can’t the government spend money figuring out how to improve emissions from older vehicles instead of scrapping them?”
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Source : www.newschainonline.com