Critics of the expansion of London’s ultra-low emission zone (Ulez) have initiated actions against a fleet of camera vans responsible for enforcing the regulations. Pictures shared on social media reveal that some of these vans have been subjected to graffiti, their cameras obscured with bags, and their tires intentionally deflated.
A recovery truck was captured on camera coming to the aid of one of these vans.
In excess of 4,000 individuals have joined a Facebook group dedicated to urging others to report any sightings of these enforcement vans.
These vehicles are being deployed as an increasing number of fixed Ulez cameras have been rendered inoperative by critics of the program, who go by the name “Blade Runners.”
The Ulez cameras employ automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to swiftly identify vehicles.
Motorists found driving within the zone with a non-compliant vehicle and neglecting to pay the £12.50 daily fee will initially receive warning letters.
In the upcoming weeks, Transport for London (TfL) is anticipated to commence imposing fines of £180, which can be reduced to £90 if paid within a 14-day window.
A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman said: “Vandalism is unacceptable and all incidents on our network are reported to the police for investigation.
“Criminal damage to Ulez cameras or vehicles puts the perpetrators at risk of prosecution and injury, while simultaneously risking the safety of the public.
“Camera vandalism will not stop the Ulez operating London-wide.
“All vandalised cameras are repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
“We have an extensive camera network which is sufficient to support the effective operation of the scheme.
“Anyone driving a non-compliant vehicle within the expanded zone will be detected and we advise everyone to check whether their vehicle is compliant and to consider the various support that is available to help transition to greener modes of transport.”
According to data disclosed by the Metropolitan Police, there were a total of 510 reported crimes related to Ulez cameras during the period from the beginning of April to the end of August.
Out of these cases, two individuals have been arrested. In one instance, a person has been charged and released on bail, while the other case has been discontinued by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, who made the decision to expand Ulez to the whole of London from Aug 29, previously warned people attacking cameras that “protest should be lawful, safe and peaceful”, adding: “It is really important to stay on the right side of the law.”