Cost of living crisis: Emotional teacher warns Sadiq Khan ULEZ expansion will ‘cripple’ her

“It’s going to cripple me. It’s a constant worry - I can’t be lugging boxes of marking on the bus.”

A teacher has warned Sadiq Khan plans to expand the ULEZ to cover Greater London will “cripple” her.

Julie Hinds, a secondary school teacher in Epping Forest, told Mr Khan in an emotional speech how she relies on her car to “bring home my marking”, adding: “I am struggling.”

City Hall is proposing to expand London’s ultra low emission zone (ULEZ) to cover the entire capital from August 2023, and a consultation by TfL has recently taken place.

Drivers - including residents - within the zone whose vehicles don’t meet emissions standards would have to pay a daily charge of £12.50.

But the mayor has faced opposition to the scheme - which he says will help tackle toxic air pollution in the city - from critics who say he risks businesses closing down and heaping further financial pressure onto Londoners during the cost of living crisis.

Julie Hinds told the mayor the ULEZ expansion would “cripple” her. Photo: GLA

Speaking at People’s Question Time, in Redbridge, earlier this week, Ms Hinds, who lives in the east London borough, said: “I’m a teacher. I work hard, I have a car.

“But unfortunately, it does not pass the ULEZ and I simply cannot afford a new car.

“I rely on my car to bring home my marking and I can actually tell you I have a lot of marking to do.”

Addressing voters at the bi-annual mayoral event, on Wednesday, October 2, she continued: “I’m just going to repeat myself - I rely on my car. I do not earn a lot of money as a teacher.”

The proposed expanded ULEZ area. Photo: GLA

She added: “You extending the ULEZ will not help me. All it will do - I don’t know what it will do - other than the fact that I am going to have to think very hard as to how I’m going to come up with thousands of pounds to replace my car

“What I’m asking is this: could you perhaps put the expansion of the ULEZ, could that not be put back for a couple of years? With the cost of living I am struggling already.

“It is a worry for me and my family. I have had a discussion with my family and I am going to have to find money to buy another car, something I simply cannot afford

“Can I also add that other colleagues at my workplace are in the same situation as me. It is a worry. The cost of living is a worry for me and my family and there are others as well. I am asking, I am requesting, for this expansion to be put on hold.”

Mayor Sadiq Khan told Julie he hadn’t made a decision yet. Photo: GLA

Speaking to LondonWorld after the event, Ms Hinds added: “It’s going to cripple me. It’s a constant worry - I can’t be lugging boxes of marking on the bus.”

In response, mayor Khan - who has faced criticism over his consultation on the plans - said: “I’ve not made my decision yet. We’re going to wait and see what the response to the consultation is.”

“I recognise teachers haven’t had a decent pay rise for 12 years. You’re facing inflation at 10-11%; energy bills going up without proper control from the government; rent and mortgages going up. I understand the crisis people are facing.

“These are some of the things I’m sure will be in the consultation. I can’t prejudge the outcome. I’ll receive the report from TfL and in due course I will make my decision.”

New signs for the ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ) are pictured in central London. Photo: Getty

Neil Garratt, Conservative assembly member for Croydon and Sutton, added: “Air quality is often seen as a party political issue. We are all breathing the same air and it is important that we recognise the health impacts of breathing dirty air.

“My concern with ULEZ is this. A huge, independent report said the expansion of ULEZ will have zero effect on particulates, it will have zero impact on climate change.

“The only air pollution it will have an impact on, in the expansion to outer London, is on nitrogen oxide, and that will remove about 1.5% in the air in outer London.

“We are talking about almost homoeopathic amounts of change to air quality.”

He added: “This huge daily charge is simply unaffordable. I think it is the wrong policy in pursuit of the right objective.”

An impact assessment on the ULEZ expansion, carried out by TfL, found the scheme would result in “small” reductions in nitrogen oxide emissions and “negligible” reductions in particulate matter, but have a “disproportionate” impact on Londoners on low-incomes.

It also found the scheme would have a “negligible” impact on carbon emissions, but said it was considered an “important first step” towards meeting World Health Organisation targets.